New Orleans is a vibrant, festive and culinary wonderland that attracts millions of visitors every year. Known around the world for its famous Mardi Gras festival and its jazz, R&B and soul music, this party city is also full of the flavours that make up its iconic cuisine.
Gumbo is one of the best examples of the New Orleans cuisine and is a traditional Creole dish. The Creole people are descendants from the French, Spanish and Portuguese settlers, but today the name is used to describe mixed background, generally Native American, French, African, Spanish, English, German and Italian.
Made with the three main flavour ingredients, gumbo has a rich history. Okra is a vegetable that thickens and seasons the stock and was brought to the United States by West African slaves, while the sassafras and bay leaves were introduced by Native Americans. The dish that is eaten today draws influence from many different cultures. It literally is a melting pot. Experiment with different flavours and proteins; seafood, chicken or sausage depending on your appetite. Each gumbo is made differently, allowing for a unique dining experience every time.
Tory McPhail is the executive chef at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Having been in the industry since he was 19 years old, he’s won a number of awards and even had his own television show, “Off the Menu”. We have a mouth-watering recipe by the man himself, giving you the opportunity to bring a taste of New Orleans into your own home.
- 2 x1.5kg Roasted chickens, meat picked & medium diced
- 2 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup Hot sauce (Tabasco)
- 3 brown onions, medium diced
- 1 head of celery, leaves and roots removed, medium diced
- 4 green capsicum, medium diced
- 1 cup garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 12 cups roasted poultry stock
- 500g Roasted mushrooms (Chanterelles)
- 2 tablespoons filé powder (available from herb stores)
- Salt, pepper, and Tabasco hot sauce to taste
- 1 bunch green onions, greens tops thinly sliced
- Make the roux - Place a large, heavy gauge sauce pan over high heat and pour in 1 cup of vegetable oil. Before the vegetable oil starts to smoke, make sure the rest of your gumbo ingredients are close at hand.
- When the oil is starting to smoke, whisk in the all-purpose flour a little at a time until the roux is formed. Continue cooking the roux and whisking constantly until a mahogany brown color is reached.
- Add the vegetables, and bay leaves to the roux and continue to cook over high heat for an additional 5 minutes. The vegetables should start to caramelize and the roux should be evenly mixed through the vegetables.
- Slowly pour in the bay leaves, hot sauce & Worcestershire sauce while stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- Add the roasted poultry stock in the same fashion, and bring the new gumbo to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and gently cook for at least an hour or until the gumbo stops giving up fat and foam.
- When fully cooked, fold in the roasted mushrooms & diced chicken and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the slivered green onions and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Turn off the heat, stir in the filé and serve at once.