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Can anyone help me out with making gumbo?

Hi ladies, I'm a Rhode Island Nestie, just visiting with a cooking question.  I hope I'm not intruding and you can give me some tips!

My friends and I have an annual cook-off, and it's this weekend.  This year's theme is New Orleans.  I have gone back and forth for the past 2 months since the date was announced about what to make, and therefore have put it off until the last minute and haven't practiced anything.  In a "throw caution to the wind" maneuver, I've decided to try a gumbo.  I've never made it before, so I know I'm taking a risk, but I'm a decent cook, so I feel pretty confident about it.  I've read a bunch of recipes, and I'm thinking shrimp, crab, and maybe scallops (I don't like oysters, and I want to keep with the seafood, so no chicken or sausage).  Anyone have any tips for making gumbo?  Any secret ingredients or favorite recipes I could read through for ideas?  Thanks so much!

Re: Can anyone help me out with making gumbo?

  • file. Try recipes?

    (I've never used this recipe, but it calls for file and or okra which makes the best gumbo IMHO)?

    Though you may want to just skip the scallops. They aren't readily used in New Orleans style cooking. Not having them won't affect the flavor in anyway since shrimp and crab will still give it that seafood goodness. ?Or just use oyster liquor and then you don't have the actual oyster in the gumbo.?

    Gumbo is a toughy. Good luck!! ?

  • gumbo is tough.  I haven't made one from scratch yet.

     I would not do scallops because they could get too tough.  Gumbo needs to cook for a long time and I'd pass on the oyster too. 

     You could add sausage.  That's popular down here. 

    Frank Davis is a known New Orleans cook type person.  I don't know if you would say Chef, but he does a cooking segment on the local news for as long as I can remember.  Google Frank Davis Gumbo and see what you get.

     GL.  If you get scared, switch to Jambalaya, that's easier.  And if you have time, order Tony Chacheres and really flavor your food.

  • I would agree that Jambalaya is way easier. My husband makes a really yummy recipe. Let me know if you would be interested in that. If you want to make the gumbo and want to make things a lot easier on yourself, Zatarain's makes a gumbo starter that is actually pretty good. You could add whatever meat you wanted to the mix.
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  • Thanks for the tips and advice, girls!  I think I'm more nervous now than I was before!  I've made jambalaya before, and I love it, but I really want to do something bigger for this, and I think gumbo will do it.  I'll skip the scallops, though, thanks for that advice - that will save me some money in making this too! 

    I'm using that recipe from GumboPages as my basis, and kind of work off of that.  Wish me luck!  I'm going to start tomorrow night, and then serve it at our cook-off on Saturday afternoon - I'll let you know how it goes!

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