"Jambalaya, Crawfish pie, Filé gumbo... For tonight, Im a-gonna see my my-my cher a mi-o Pick guitar, fill fruit far and be gay-o Son of a gun, well have big fun on the bayou..."
As a kid I used to listen to the Carpenters singing Jambalaya and think "what on earth are they talking about?" My mother told me that Jambalaya was a big mix of rice, meat and fish and that a bayou was a creek... She told me that the song was about a place called Louisianna, and it all sounded very exotic to me.
It is the one food I had never eaten in my life, Jambalaya or Gumbo.
And for some reason yesterday I spent the morning trying to say "New Orleans" in that slow way that people from New Orleans do... Nu Ow..lenes... Nuw Oh-weh-leens... Nuh Owl-eens...
And that reminded me of Gumbo, and I got curious. A bit of googling and I found out that really in its essence any stew of a roux base that contains onion, bell pepper and celery is a gumbo. I looked around for recipes and you know the pictures just didn't grab me, and I am a picture recipe kinda girl - I don't trust recipes without the heres one I made earlier shot!
So I reread the information about what makes a gumbo and just made one myself.
I'm sure gumbocentric people will cry out 'That ain't no gumbo' but I'm happy and I followed the rules... so here it is... my hot and tasty...
'Wish it was Shrimp' Gumbo
1 cup of small prawns (or shrimp if you can get good ones)
4 sticks of celery
1 green bell pepper
1 tablespoon flour
2 ounces butter
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
250gms cooked rice
Fry the onion, celery and pepper together until translucent. Make a space in the middle of the pan and make the roux by melting the butter and adding the flour and some of the milk to make a thick paste, then bit by bit add all the milk until you have a sauce.
Add the prawns and stir until they are opaque. Add the cayenne pepper and seasoning. Pour over cooked rice and tuck in.
I should have cooked this roux for longer to get the dark brown roux which Gumbo is made from but there were hungry men in the other room watching football, so they got a half gumbo...a mbo. I will go the full hog next time and let you know how it tastes!