Gumbo is one of the quintessential Louisiana staples – especially during the winter because its hearty consistency makes it a great choice during cold days, but it's arguably gumbo time tear-round! If you’ve never had gumbo, it’s a type of spicy stew typical of Louisiana. The dish consists of two basic ingredients: broth and rice. The rice is prepared separately and only added to the dish at the time of serving.
The dish has an extremely large variety of flavors and consistencies, depending on how the roux is made (or broth, as more commonly known). Variations of the roux-based soup include chicken and smoked sausage, shrimp and okra, wild duck and smoked sausage, and even rabbit or seafood gumbo with shrimp, crab, and oysters.
Cooking gumbo requires time and patience because the broth must be left to simmer for hours to achieve the appropriate thickness. The flavors usually pop even more the next day, so everyone always makes enough for seconds! Some families have gumbo over the holidays, and you always have to be on the lookout for the greedy cousin who “dredges” the pot and gets all the good stuff that has settled on the bottom of the gumbo pot!
This fun, helpful video will give you the one, two, and three's of how to make gumbo. You can also check out this time-saving recipe!
Find those places that put their love language into their gumbos – the family-owned restaurants with their own secret recipe that’s been passed down for decades. You can taste the love in the roux and in their lit-up faces when you ask about their gumbos. So, when you’re in town, ask a local where their favorite gumbo is found in Louisiana's Playground!
One interesting yearly tradition centers on the preparation of gumbo; it is the annual Fat Tuesday Run, or Courir de Mardi Gras. Usually held in rural communities, it is a tradition that dates back to Medieval France. A parade of Mardi Gras celebrators, often in costumes, go from house to house collecting ingredients for their gumbo by performing dances and chasing a chicken. The community of Iowa, LA, still hosts such a parade and cook-off each year.