I love all things, New Orleans. It is a city near and dear to my heart, and it is unlike any other place in the US. New Orleans has its own language (the YAT dialect), music (the birthplace of jazz), and its own food (Creole and Cajun). And when it comes to gumbo, the great debate in the Big Easy is Creole gumbo vs. Cajun gumbo! My favorite is both the Creole and the Cajun style. A typical Creole roux is made from butter and flour (as in France), while a Cajun roux is usually made with lard or oil and flour. This is partly due to the scarcity of dairy products in some areas of Acadiana (Acadia + Louisiana) when Cajun cuisine was being developed.
Creole and Cajun dishes are both built on the “holy trinity.” An aromatic base of sautéed bell peppers, onions, and celery, it is Louisiana’s version of mirepoix, or the mix of carrots, celery, and onion used in French cooking. The trinity was a result of the region’s strong French influence. Creole food, on the other hand, has its roots in Caribbean cuisine. Okra itself is an African ingredient incorporated into Creole dishes. Filé, or ground sassafras leaves, is a gumbo thickener, similar to cornstarch today, and comes from Native Americans. These have all become staples of Louisiana food and essential parts of the Louisiana cooking puzzle.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
They key to a good roux is to cook it “low and slow.” Keep the heat just south of medium heat and stir often. A good gumbo roux will take anywhere from 8-10 minutes to make. You’re looking for a nice chocolate color. I like to serve this over rice with a huge slice of my cornbread! As is the case with most gumbos, this dish is best prepared either early in the day it is to be served, or even the day before, thereby allowing time for the flavors to marry. When reheating, stir often!
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, miced
- 1 can drained picked through green jackfruit
- 1 pack vegan andouille sausage
- 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
- 1 16oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pickapeppa sauce
- 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (liquid aminos)
- 2 Tbsp Voodoo Magic Creole Spice Mix
- 2 Tbsp Filé powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups sliced okra
- In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil , add the okra and sauté over medium high heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until all the “ropiness” is gone. This step may take a little longer if fresh okra is used. Frozen vegetables are usually plunged into boiling water and blanched before freezing, so they are partially cooked.
- Place oil in a large (8 quart) heavy bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven type pot. Add the flour and, over a medium high fire, and make a dark brown roux. As soon as the proper color is achieved, add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until tender.
- During this process, allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape the bottom with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows some of the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, rendering great depth of flavor.
- Stir in jackfruit and sausage, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the veggies begin to soften.
- Stir in the broth, tomatoes, okra, Worcestershire, Creole mustard, pickapeppa sauce, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and soy sauce.
- Add Voodoo Spice Mix, bay leaves, and filé. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is thick and the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves. Taste for seasonings.
- Serve over rice, and enjoy!