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A note before we begin: The word gumbo derives from a west African word meaning okra. African slaves brought okra seeds to America. That brings up 2 points:
I suggest a Lodge 5 quart Dutch oven #8DO2 or 7 quart Dutch oven #10D02.
I used a take-apart, portable tripod I made myself. Click here for construction details.
Cost = less than $10.00. Feeds 6 - 8 hungry folks.
Here's what else you'll need:
STEP #2: Remove the pot from the fire, save the stock, and set the meat aside so it will cool.
NOTE: Do not add cold or cool liquid to a hot cast iron pot. The pot will crack. Either remove the pot from the fire and let it cool, or do as I did at this point and add the veggies and then the spices.
Stir the veggies and spices for about 1 minute or until the onion becomes translucent.
Note: Add only 1 cup of okra with the veggies. Save the other 2 cups to add with the meat. The 1 cup will cook to pieces and thicken the brew. The 2 cups added later will remain somewhat whole.
Now, while the next 2 hours pass and the pot simmers and all of those different flavors combine and react with each other, I'd pop the top on a cold beer if I was you, and I'd sit back and relax and watch the fire and the pot and I'd wonder about the meaning of life and how the pore folks live. I can tell you for sure that some of us live pretty damn fine. At least we eat mighty fine.
Simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. By now you'll probably be famished, but wait that hour–you'll be glad you did. You may need to add water during that last, long hour. You may not. I didn't.
Serve with rice, a dash or 2 of genuine Tabasco® sauce, a chunk of white onion, a jalapeno or 2, and crackers or cornbread. Chase it with ice cold beer or dry white wine.
Man, you talk about good eating! You'll be amazed at the taste of this gumbo made with readily available spices. The key is the long simmering time which allows the natural flavors time to react with each other.
A suggestion: Genuine McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce® adds more than just hotness. It is hot, for sure, but it contributes an oak-cask-like flavor to gumbo that can't be beat. If you can't find it locally, order some from their web site before making this or any other gumbo.
Another suggestion: If you prefer to thicken your gumbo with filé, eliminate the 1 cup of okra in STEP #4
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