Son of a gun...

...we'll have big fun on the bayou!

"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
You'll need
1 cup of small prawns (or shrimp if you can get good ones)
4 sticks of celery
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
150mls milk
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!


Emma said...

I LOVE seafood gumbo! People eat all sorts of gumbo down here in Alabama, but I love crawfish or seafood gumbo. Strangely, I have not attempted to make it yet--all my friends who grew up making it are so good at it, I let them feed it to me. And I always eat it when we go to New Orleans too. Gumbo means okra in some west African language and it's believed that salves brought okra to the US and used it to make okra or gumbo stew. I don't know if you can even get okra in Ireland. If you can, do not make the mistake I made and boil it----yeeeewch! It is only good fried in corn meal or in gumbo.

You have made me hungry. I wish I could eat some of your delicious looking gumbo right now!

Emily said...

HEHE! I think the stack of rice look so funny. HEHE but in a good way. Oh...hehe...I have never had gumbo before but last summer I ate jambalaya for the very first time. It was delicious!! We found it in a tiny unassuming restaurant while we were on vacation in Oregon. In truth I really had no idea what it was when I ordered it. Well I had some idea but not much. It was so good that I can't even find words to describe it. I will have to try your gumbo now so I can officially say I know what Gumbo and jambalaya are.

Lisa Conmara said...

Emma - I forgot you'd have experience with gumbo - i should have asked you! Yeh you can get Okra here alright, its used for indian foods I think? I did a bit of research before hand and there are two camps, the okra is essential camp and the okra is not essential camp! I went with the non okra camp for obvious reasons! I used flour instead of file powder (what is it please?) and although it was lacking some important ingredients it was still flavoursome and had that southern kick!

Emily - I love stacking rice! It is so retro!

Emma said...

I'm not a fan of okra but people love it down here! Weird. Mike runs the local community garden for the Food Bank which supplies people on food stamps. This year he thought he would skip growing okra because it is prickly to pick and needs constant attention when it fruits, but the locals clamoured for it.

But people here think it is hilarious that I, an Irish person, really do like potatoes.

Lisa Conmara said...

thanks emma! that made me laugh out loud!