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Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for New Orleans gumbo and banana and cardamom tart | The Guardian

Gumbos vary tremendously from region to region, from family to family, from pot to pot. In the 19th century, for example, the Creole people of the city thickened their gumbos with okra or, in winter, when okra wasn’t available, with the ground leaves of the sassafras tree, known as filé powder; these days, either or both are used. In Cajun country, meanwhile, just outside New Orleans, they use a flour-and-oil-based roux (darker and richer than any French roux I’ve seen), as a base and thickener; they may or may not add filé to their gumbo, while some modern Creole versions use roux, too, only not as dark and not so much of it. See what I mean now about cryptic?

As for those bits floating about in the gumbo, I couldn’t find two people who agreed on what goes into a traditional one, be it Creole or Cajun. Seafood (often crab, shrimp and oysters) feature in many versions, as do chicken and duck; for extra flavour, the local smoked andouille sausage is another popular addition, along with tasso, a cured smoked pork shoulder a bit like ham that’s flavoured with cayenne and garlic.


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