Growing up in North Carolina, I had no idea what gumbo or crawfish was and refused to eat anything spicy! Not even buffalo wings. Once I met my Cajun husband this all changed. After getting over how creepy crawfish looked and also getting over the fact that it took over an hour to eat my first plate of crawfish, I grew to love those little mudbugs! I had a similar experience with gumbo. The first time I ate gumbo I was a little scared. Some Cajuns put all kinds of stuff in their gumbo including frog legs and whole chickens! The first bowl I got I cautiously looked through, terrified of accidentally eating a chicken heart. After I got over my fears, I found out how delicious Cajun food is.
Needless to say I am also a huge gumbo fan, and my husband has even taught me how to make it. Now I think I can make a pretty damn good gumbo. Being in Saudi Arabia, pork is illegal and the beef sausage here tastes like death. Normally I would add some Chapel Hill sausage, but instead I tried making it with bacon. I will probably make it like this in the States since that’s how surprisingly amazing it tasted! The bacon gives it this amazing smokey flavor and you don’t even realize that sausage is missing!
1 bunch of celery
1 yellow onion
1 cup flour
1 cup peanut oil (Or any oil really works. I have used sunflower and corn oil)
1/2 pound of bacon (Could be beef if you live in Saudi)
2 pounds of chicken
Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s, Slap yo Mama, Garlic powder, and Cayenne pepper if you like it spicy)
Chop up the celery and onions. Put them in a bowl and set them aside.
Put raw chicken and bacon in crock pot. Add a layer of seasoning to your liking. I’m really bad about measuring the seasoning, I usually just guestimate. I put a good amount of seasoning on top of the chicken, no less than a tablespoon. It will absorb the seasoning as it cooks although I wouldn’t overdo it! It’s way easier to taste it while its cooking and add more than it is to take the seasoning away. Yes I sound like a professional Food Network chef right now, I’m sure 🙂
The Roux is the most important part of making Gumbo and the hardest and most tedious! It usually takes me about 30-45 minutes to make it. You can buy pre-made Roux at HEB but I found that it just doesn’t taste as flavorful. Same thing happened when I made extra Roux and refrigerated it for later. It just didn’t have the same smokey taste. You add the cup of oil and flour in a large skillet. Turn up the heat the highest it will go. From then on, you stir constantly scraping the bottom of the skillet, not missing any spots. If you burn any part of it, the Roux is ruined. It is best to wear gloves if possible as it gets very hot and may bubble out and pop on your hand! This happened to my husband and gave him a huge blister. The Roux will gradually get darker the more you cook it.
Once it gets to almost the color of milk chocolate, you want to start turning the heat down. The darker it gets, the faster it cooks. You want to make sure it doesn’t burn. When it’s almost done, it will look similar to the color above. Reduce the heat to low.
Once the Roux is done, pour the vegetables in. Be careful as it still is hot and may splash. Add a cup of water and stir.
Add Roux to crock pot. Add roughly two cups water. I like to add another layer of seasoning. Stir. Let cook for about 5 hours on high. Stir throughout, tasting for seasoning. Stir at the end and chicken should shred easily! Eat with white rice and/or Ritz crackers!
Fat: 42.7 g
Carbs: 14.4 g
Protein: 17.5 g