Would This Viral ‘Texas Gumbo’ Pass a Louisiana Inspection?
After spending too much time scrolling through various social media timelines, someone sent me this video with the message "Dude... WTF?" Naturally, I had no choice but to watch the video to see if the "WTF" was indeed warranted.
And hoo boy, I think it might have been.
The social media user Pepper Belly Pete is known for his southern takes on various foods, but this one appears to have rubbed some Louisiana residents the wrong way. His "Texas Gumbo" alarmingly starts with a bunch of stew meat.
It spirals out of control from here.
Included in this odd take on the Louisiana classic isn't just beef, but beef broth and mushrooms. He does include okra, which is controversial in some circles, but not super offensive. And, along with the bay leaf, there is also a sprig of rosemary.
Thank God there aren't any tomatoes, however.
What Exactly Is Gumbo?
Gumbo is a popular and flavorful dish that, as we know it today, originates in Louisiana, particularly among the Creole and Cajun communities. However, its deeper roots come all the way from Africa.
Several key characteristics define what makes something a gumbo:
Roux: Gumbo typically starts with a roux, a mixture of fat (often oil or butter) and flour, cooked to various degrees of color. The roux adds depth of flavor and thickness to the gumbo. The color of the roux can range from blond to dark brown.
Trinity of Vegetables: Gumbo traditionally includes the "trinity" of vegetables: onions, bell peppers, and celery. These aromatic vegetables form the base of many Cajun and Creole dishes, including gumbo.
Protein: Gumbo can feature a variety of proteins. Common choices include andouille sausage, chicken, seafood (shrimp, crab, or crawfish), and sometimes game meats. Gumbo z'herbes is a vegetarian version that uses a variety of greens.
Broth: Gumbo is often made with a rich and flavorful broth. This can be a combination of water, stock, and sometimes tomatoes. Seafood gumbo might have a seafood stock base, while chicken and sausage gumbo could use a chicken or vegetable stock.
Filé Powder or Okra: Gumbo is typically thickened using filé powder, okra, or a combination of both. Filé powder is made from ground sassafras leaves and is added at the end of cooking. Okra, a green pod vegetable, is sliced and added during the cooking process to provide thickness and a unique flavor.
Seasonings: Gumbo is seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. Common seasonings include thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and cayenne pepper. The use of spices can vary based on personal preference and regional variations.
Served Over Rice: Gumbo is often served over a bed of white rice. The rice helps absorb the flavorful broth and complements the hearty nature of the dish.
It's important to note that there are different types of gumbo, and variations exist based on the region, family traditions, and personal preferences. Gumbo recipes can be diverse, and some might include additional ingredients like tomatoes, green onions, or parsley.
Gumbo is a dish that reflects the cultural influences and culinary traditions of Louisiana, making it a beloved and distinctive part of Southern cuisine.
Gumbo Inflation Index for South Louisiana
Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham