When it comes to Louisiana food, Gumbo is, without a doubt, the most well-known meal on the menu. Although it can be traced back to the early nineteenth century, the term’s exact origins remain a mystery.
Genuine Gumbo has delectable smoked sausage, among a variety of other components that distinguish it from other dishes.
The quick answer is whatever smoked sausage you happen to have on hand. To prepare the finest Gumbo possible, you should use sausages such as andouille, chorizo, or kielbasa. These sausages are available in many different varieties. Consider some of the top sausage selections available for this one-of-a-kind dish as we continue reading.
The types of sausages used in Gumbo
Gumbo can be made without sausage and still be considered Gumbo, but the sausage is the most significant part of the dish for many people. Smoked sausage goes exceptionally well with the “holy trinity” of seafood and shellfish. If you’re not sure which type of sausage to use for Gumbo, here are a few suggestions to think about.
1. Andouille Sausages
A Louisiana native would certainly recommend andouille if you asked them which sausage to use in a gumbo dish. As a result of its long history in the region, this specific sausage is a popular element in Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Although it has German origins, it has a French name, which may appear paradoxical. During the 18th century, while Louisiana was still a part of France, early German immigration resulted in creating the sausage.
It is produced with pork, venison, or a combination of the two. In addition to the smoked andouille sausage used in Gumbo, fresh andouille sausage is also available. Several people enjoy its taste since it is harsh, gritty, and smoky.
2. Chorizo Sausage
If you cannot find it locally, the chorizo sausage is a good substitute for andouille sausage. It is made from strongly seasoned ground pork and includes smoked paprika, garlic, and occasionally pimento peppers.
Chorizo is available in two varieties. Mexican chorizo, produced from raw or uncooked pork, and smoked Spanish chorizo, are the first two types of sausage. Although the flavor is comparable to andouille sausage, the texture is quite different. The dish is lovely when used in Gumbo, however.
3. Polish Sausage
Kielbasa, which translates as “sausage” in Polish, is another name for this type of sausage. In Poland, kielbasa is a high-quality sausage prepared from any meat. It can be made from pork, cattle, lamb, turkey, chicken, and veal.
Ideally, you’ll want to use pig kielbasa for this recipe, but you can use any sausage you choose. In andouille sausage, a kielbasa is a delicious option that works well in Gumbo and other recipes from the Louisiana region.
It’s still possible to prepare Gumbo from scratch if you don’t have any of the items listed above or want a different flavor combination. German smoked sausage or even Italian salami can suffice, as long as it has a smoky flavor and is not too thick in texture. Use any sausage that you enjoy and concentrate on the roux and other components of the recipe.
The history of Gumbo
When it comes down to it, Gumbo is a form of flavorful stew, which is what I would describe it as in two words. Various meats and seafood are used in its preparation, including a range of seasonings and vegetables. Gumbo is a delectable dish that represents Southern cuisine at its best.
In many ways, a single dish of Gumbo may serve as a time capsule for the region’s history: Native American, West African, and European cultures in that order. While Gumbo is most commonly associated with Louisiana today, especially with Cajun cuisine, its origins may be traced back to a far wider geographic area.
In numerous West African languages, the word “gumbo” refers to okra, a key ingredient in Gumbo, and is referred to as “ki ngombo” in the English translation. For the adventurous cook, this one-pot recipe offers a great deal of variety in terms of preparation.
After that, everything is up in the air. You’ll need a protein source, some vegetables, and some herbs. However, if you want to make an authentic gumbo that will taste and look like the dish people ate hundreds of years ago, you will need a few authentic ingredients.
Gumbo can be either a thick soup or a thin soup-like preparation depending on your inclination. The most popular protein options are chicken breast, turkey sausage, crab, oysters, and shrimp. Traditionally, beef is not utilized. Pork isn’t either unless it’s in the form of sausage.
Gumbo must also include the well-known “holy trinity” of veggies – chopped onions, celery, and green peppers to be considered complete. Finally, Gumbo will require a thickener to be appropriately thickened. You may take numerous approaches to do this, but the most fundamental is to utilize a roux, which is a thickening typically used in Gumbo.
The golden brown color is achieved by cooking flour in butter or even other types of oil till it becomes golden brown. File powder and okra are two alternative thickeners that can be used, but they are typically considered optional.
File powder is prepared from the leaves extract of the Sassafras plant, which is native to the southeastern United States and is used in traditional African cooking. Okra can be used either dry or fresh, and it has a unique taste that makes it a versatile ingredient.
Different types of Gumbo
Another interesting fact about Gumbo is that there are initially two sorts of Gumbo: Creole and Cajun, both made in Louisiana. The only important distinction between Creole and Cajun gumbo is that Creole gumbo has tomatoes, while Cajun gumbo does not.
The inclusion of tomatoes modifies the flavor and presentation of the dish a little, but the rest of the ingredients remain unchanged. Both are authentic; it’s only a matter of personal preference which one you like.
Differences between jambalaya and Gumbo
The Creole and Cajun cuisines are often confused by those unfamiliar with them. Their acoustic properties appear to be identical on the surface. They are classified into two groups based on whether tomatoes are present. You will need sausage, shellfish, and the “holy trinity.”
It only gets more confusing when rice is involved. For starters, jambalaya is a rice meal similar to paella, but Gumbo is more of a soup or stew in texture and flavor. Rice is also an essential component of jambalaya. In a pot with meat and shellfish, simmer it until it’s tender.
As an alternative, while Gumbo can be served over rice, it can also be eaten on its own without the accompaniment of rice. Both meals are popular in New Orleans and rural Louisiana, where they are often served together.
If you want to make authentic Gumbo, the choice of sausage is clear. If you can, use andouille. Then there’s Spanish chorizo and smoked pork kielbasa.
However, Gumbo allows the cook to experiment with any sausage they like. Remember that the thickening gives Gumbo its distinct flavor, so focus on it.