My original attempts at a gumbo were based on a recipe from Paul Prudhomme,
who wrote a book about Cajun cooking at the height of Cajun music popularity
in the eighties. He has since turned his spice/herb mixtures into quite
a successful business. Much research, trial and error and a visit to
Louisiana enabled me to discover some of his and other Cajun chefs
secrets. The recipe below should produce about 30 portions.
My days with The Ragin Cajuns and Manchester Cajun Club back
in the nineties meant that I used to cook this in ever increasing quantities
for the once a month sessions. I have also cooked it since on numerous
occasions for anything from a Cajun music night at the local pub, for
birthday parties and even the annual Christmas meal of the local quiz
Im not prepared to give away the secrets of the spices, but providing
Im not inundated with requests, would be quite happy to give a
packet of the mixture away, to anyone who comes to see Biggles and buys
a CD. If there are lots of requests though, will have to cover my costs.
Even Pere Verte managed to cook this for his local dance troop.
Skin and bone the chickens using the skin, bone etc to make a stock
the day before, so that you can put through a sieve. The next day you
can remove the fat from the top. I make stock and freeze it. I use various
spices and herbs when making stock, and every chef has his secrets!
Dice the meat off the chicken.
Peel the garlic and use a crusher to put it in the pan. Mix a good
dollup of olive oil with the garlic and add the diced onions. Gentle
heat to soften the onions then add the meat and Grahams Mixture of herbs
and spices. Stir in well but dont allow it to burn. Add chicken
and pork stirring it in well so that it gets a good covering of the
garlic, onions and Grahams mixture, but dont allow it to burn.
Add some of the chicken stock to avoid burning. De-seed and cut into
smallish pieces the peppers (probably as well to have done this beforehand).
Similarly the celery (dont throw the flowery bits away, put them
in as well
make sure its washed well).
Add enough chicken stock to cover everything and allow it to simmer
until the pork is cooked (pork takes longer than chicken) Then add the
diced sausage and give it another 15 mins or so.
You then need to taste it. With luck, its ok, but the amount
of vegetables can very enormously depending on size and quality. Peppers
can vary from skinny limp old things to very fat walled wonders. Celery
also varies, and because of this, you may need to increase certain of
the tastes. This is the difficult bit, because herbs and spices dont
develop immediately like salt does, and it is easy to overdo.
Once happy with the taste, use cornflour or preferably arrowroot (this
is tasteless) to thicken it up (Not too thick though).
Generally, it is served with boiled long grain rice
Its taken me years to develop the above, which is based on Paul
Prudhommes gumbo recipe (He was and maybe still is regarded as the top
Cajun chef www.chefpaul.com
though I have his book which came before all this web stuff).
I will provide the secret mix for a small sum of money (3 pounds),
but if you dont fancy going to all the trouble (and it takes me
3-4 hours to cook and another hour or so to shop), Ill do the
shopping and cook it for a fee of 40 pounds. The ingredients cost varies
between 30-45 pounds. Rice is extra, cooked and cooled ready for the
Laissez les bons temps roulez!!