“Every person’s life is like a pot of gumbo, you get out what you put in.” Helen Broussard
Gumbo is a popular Louisiana dish, a kind of soup. There must be a million variations on how to make it. Every person who makes it thinks theirs is better than the next. I have seen people arguing over what is the best way to make this dish. Just like life, everyone has some input on what would make the next person’s life better. Some people want more sausage, more shrimp, or no shrimp. Some want crab or oysters. Some prefer more spice, more file’ (feelay).
One thing they all have in common is a Roux (Roo). Roux is the gravy base and the foundation of this dish. It gives the soup its flavor and is what makes you get that second bowl. Everyone has a Roux in their life. Someone who influenced every step they took, and gave their life direction. Mother was my Roux.
In order to see into this incredible woman, you have to know what came before and what came after. That is where we go in The Roux in the Gumbo novel.
Let’s go, it is going to be an adventure.
Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler
(Let the Good Times Roll)
Use a large stockpot. Fill half way with water and set on high to boil. You can divide ingredients into 2 or 3 smaller pots. I prefer this method, because it takes awhile to get the water to boil. It will also decrease the chance of your Gumbo sticking to the bottom. There is nothing worse than a burnt pot of Gumbo. “Chile just thinking about it makes me want to cry.” Gumbo is something that every time it’s made it just gets better as you add or take away ingredients to tailor to your taste, much like a fine suit of clothes. Other variations have bell pepper, tomato puree, oysters, crawfish, rabbit, turkey or chicken, parsley, green onion and garlic. I could fill this book up with various ways to prepare this dish. Do not be afraid to experiment.
Add gizzards, onion, celery, onion soup mix, dried shrimp and sausage crab boil bag. When it reaches a rapid boil, reduce flame to low and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Make the Roux
Roux: 1 cup of vegetable oil 1 cup of flour If you prefer a thicker soup, add more flour. Heat the oil over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over grease while constantly stirring, so as not to scorch, based on your preference. I prefer a nut brown or caramel color. Some people like a darker roux. You can always taste as you go along. Add liquid from the boiling pot and stir in. Set aside.
Add chicken, crab legs, okra, black pepper, seasoning and celery salt to taste. Be very careful with celery salt, it can overpower the other flavors. Add 1 teaspoon to entire pot. You can always go back and add more or add as a garnish. Boil for 35 to 40 minutes. Add Roux and stir Add shrimp and boil 5 minutes more. Remove from heat add 1 teaspoon of gumbo file to each pot. Serve in a bowl over rice. Sprinkle file to taste. Do not be afraid to get your fingers dirty. Also, do not forget to suck the gravy out of the crab legs before you open them up.
The Roux In The Gumbo
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