Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Louisiana Cooking in a North Carolina Kitchen

I'm a south Louisiana girl, born and bred, and while not "officially" Cajun, I can cook Cajun food pretty well.  My sister, who by the way married a full blooded Cajun, says that anyone who was born and raised in South Louisiana and whose ancestors are from Louisiana, is Cajun.  (Cajun by the way means Acadiana French ancestry and we are about half Irish and the rest a mix of Native American, English, German and who knows what else : )
So even though I'm out of the bayou state, I still cook pretty much  the same food that I was raised on.  It wasn't until I went to college in Oklahoma that I begun to realize that not everyone eats gumbo, red beans and rice, okra, shrimp creole, oysters, etc.  I couldn't believe there was no grits or corn bread in my college cafeteria!  Well, I haven't done a food post in a while and even though everyone is talking pumpkin this and that with fall rolling in, I thought I would give y'all a good, authentic gumbo recipe.

This is the fresh vegetables you will need.  Green onions (no other onion will do!), bell peppers, and fresh okra.  Now if you can't find fresh okra, canned is the next best way to go and then frozen is OK too.  But please don't leave out the okra, it is what gives the gumbo the thickener.  And if you don't like okra, please try it anyway.  The tomatoes in the gumbo break the sliminess of the okra....I promise! Oh and this picture has purple okra because it was on sale and it was really good, but I usually buy green. 

    As far as seasoning, you will need Tony's (or some sort of Cajun seasoning, but Tony's is the best if you can find it), garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and crab/shrimp boil. 

 Every good southern cook knows how to make a roux.  You take equal parts flour and real butter (in this case 3 Tb. spoons of each).  You melt the butter on medium and then add the flour.  You cook it till it browns pretty dark, stirring at all times.  When it's almost burning you pour in 2 cups of water.  I took a picture of just the roux, but my camera fogged up from the steam and it didn't turn out.  This after I added the water and vegetables to the roux. 
You will need some good spicy sausage, preferably Andouille sausage.  But I know this is hard to find in places besides Louisiana, so whatever kind of spicy sausage you like.....even turkey sausage is fine.  Then get some good shrimp, not too big or too small.

Here's the finished product and boy was it good this time around.  My sister's authentic recipe below.....enjoy!

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Saute 3Tb butter with 3Tb flour until a very dark brown roux.
Immediately add 2 cups water. 
Then add:
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 chopped bell pepper (red or green)
1 pd. chopped fresh okra or 1 can okra
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1 teas. garlic powder
1 teas. cumin
1Tb salt
1Tb Tony's (Cajun seasoning)
1Tb chili powder
1Tb sugar
1Tb Worcestershire sauce
Cook on a low simmer for at least 1 hour.
Then add 2 more cups of water along with
1 pd. of raw, peeled shrimp
1 pd. of chopped sausage
1 teas. crab/shrimp boil 
Serve over cooked rice


  1. Thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to try it. I will have to give okra another try.

  2. I'm a southwest Louisiana girl married to a 100% cajun. Hubby's parents are from Church Pointe. Love the blog! Living in East TN now and can't wait for cooler weather, LSU football (Geaux Tigers) and gumbo!! God Bless, Becky

  3. That looks so yummy. We are in Houston and have plenty of Cajun people around us, especially after Katrina. I grew up in St. Louis so all the seafood and spices were too much for me at first. I have grown to love them. Sad thing is my 16 year old has a severe allergy to shellfish! I bet you can feed the whole crowd with a big old pot of that.

  4. What kind of shrimp boil did you use? The shrimp/crab boil I found is whole spices in a mesh bag or Chesapeake Bay type ground spice.

    1. I use Zatarains or Old Spice. There is some in the bag and that's OK. Just open the bag and use and a little. But you know, sometimes I leave it out. It's not absolutely necessary : )


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