Study Abroad and Cultural Tours Blog



Between our Mardi Gras blog earlier this month and our resident musician’s blog on his experience in New Orleans from last week, I’m feeling inspired to make something Cajun. So today we are cooking up some Gumbo.

Cajun food is great for the cold winter days we’ve been having too. The mix of French technique with rustic traditions and locally available products fashioned this food into one of the most unique and identifiable in the United States. The tradition of making Gumbo dates back to the beginning of the 1800’s in New Orleans. The must haves for this dish are okra, meat and/or shellfish, and roux. Some might add filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves – adopted from the Choctaw traditions) to the list, but living in Spain I can’t get my hands on it so we made do without.997091_670439377570_5264889757987796219_n

The dish itself is a perfect incarnation of the melting pot that is New Orleans. It combines ingredients and techniques from all the nationalities that have colonized the area over the centuries: West African, French, Spanish, German, and Choctaw to name a few.

In my experience, stews always turn out better in the slow cooker, and this was no exception. The roux takes a little time and elbow grease, but once it’s done you can have it on hand and the rest was just throwing in the ingredients and waiting.

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Slow Cooker Gumbo

(serves 6-8)

10411179_670439417490_4485544457572464867_n1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups okra
3 celery ribs
Italian parsley
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 chorizo links*
1lb monkfish tail**
4 Tablespoons brown roux (recipe follows)
8oz shrimp

*You could use Andouille, we just don’t have it in Spain where I live.
**Or other fish with a meaty texture

Chop veggies chicken and chorizo. Stew in a slow cooker on low 6 hours.
Add 4T brown roux. And shrimp (peeled and deveined). Simmer on high another 20min
Serve over long grain rice.

Brown Roux

Equal parts butter and flour vigorously stirred over medium heat until brown. Probably 15 minutes. Most recommend a 10173788_670437107120_2351037600899939043_nwooden spoon, but I found a whist helpful.

I usually make a ton and keep it in the fridge to throw in soups or thicken up meat juices from the slow cooker into a grave instantly.

by Katalina C. Thomas

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