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Gumbo: It's
All In The Roux

By John Havel

The inspiration for this recipe came this past summer when I wanted to make an authentic gumbo. Among other things, I needed some fresh okra and some good andouille sausage - both not very easy to find in Upstate New York. In the grocery store I spotted what looked like okra only to find out it was baby zucchini. The only andouille they had was made from chicken, but right near it was some fresh Italian sausage ... I started thinking.

Many of you (especially in the South) will say "This isn't gumbo". However, gumbo is the result of the melting of cultures in Louisianan history during the 18th century; the dish itself is based on the French soup bouillebasse. I feel that taking liberty to substitute certain ingredients still puts it in the gumbo realm.

But you can't make gumbo without a roux. Roux is most often made with butter as the fat base, but when making a dark roux it's best to use vegetable oil as it does not burn at high temperatures like butter will. In this case we make a "peanut butter" roux which adds a distinct nutty flavor to the dish along with being a thickening agent. Also, using part olive oil makes it healthier. More ... Cooking Articles


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