Tummy Thursday: Gumbo or what makes an easy meal

Since I told you all in depth about our New Years Eve dinner, here’s the recipe for my American main course.

I searched the internet for a gumbo recipe that seemed doable and delicious and then had a trial cooking.

The first problem was to get some sausage that resembles Andouille. As you can see at that link, there is a sausage called anduille in France, but it sounds very different from the creole version and actually I detest it. I decided to go with smoked polish sausage that was very hearty, but did not have caraway seed (Eastern European sausages often have generous amounts of caraway seed and I don’t like that either). I think it made a great substitute and got used both times.

Next was the okra. I had never used okra before, and I even went to a Turkish supermarket to get some fresh okra especially for this, but, let me tell you, they aren’t called “slime fruit” in German for nothing. The little “stars” looked nice, but I don’t think they added much taste and really, I can do without the added consistency of slime, so they got left out the second time.

I changed the seasoning somewhat, leaving out the “hot sauce” but adding a “Cajun” spice and pepper mix that I quite like and the result was simply to die for.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

This is the trial version before i added the shrimp.

Making the gumbo got me thinking of how the idea of “easy meal” probably changed with women’s work shifting to the outside (I hate the insinuation that housewives “didn’t work”. I want to to see those people scrub the laundry). I can imagine that for a woman who had to do all the chores and probably some farming on the side, this gumbo would have been an “easy meal”. Sure, the roux requires a bit of your attention, but you can use that time to chop your veggies. Then you just hang it high above the fire or put it on the side of the wood stove and go about your day and do your work, while the meal is cooking itself. And you can make a big serving and don’t have a lot of dishes afterwards. Perfect meal for getting your family through a busy workday.

Nowadays, the idea of making something that needs to stew for three hours screams “festive meal” to any person who work outside.



  1. fusilier says

    Everyone’s grandmama has a different recipe for gumbo. Yours is certainly just fine.

    For thickener, can you get Filé Powder? It’s made from young sasafrass leaves and does NOT contain safrole. Unlike starches, (roux, cornstarch, potato starch) it isn’t added before cooking, but after the dish has been taken off the heat.

    Don’t Ask Me How I Know This. :^(


    James 2:24

  2. Nightjar says

    Funny how I knew what “okra” meant right away despite it being the first time I come across the English name for it. If the words “slime” and “stars” apply I guess it can’t be anything else.

    I have never tried gumbo, but I have cooked moambe a few times always including okra. My grandmother learned the recipe when she was in Angola and passed it down to me. I do not mind the consistency, but it’s definitely different and a matter of taste.

  3. Jazzlet says

    I’d certainly prefer the version without okra, the only time I have eaten it and not thought it was disgusting was as okra bhajji ie deep fried in a gram flour batter. I didn’t like them, but they didn’t make me retch.

    Gilliell I so agree with you about the amount of work involved in managing a household, just keeping things clean in the days of open fires would have been a never ending job quite apart from producing food, spinning, weaving etc. Many years ago I read a book on historical food that talked about what utensils, pans and dishes a different households might have had; it had an illustration of an old farm table with a very deep top that had ‘bowls’ carved out at each seat so there was nothing to be broken when the labourers and women servants ate, at the end of the meal the whole table would be scrubed down ready for the next meal. I doubt that would have been very common as it obviously meant you didn’t have a flat surface to work on, but it was interesting.

  4. voyager says

    It sounds delicious. Your dinner party must have been fabulous.
    A good one pot meal is always a good thing in a busy household. I’d probably use my slow-cooker for a recipe like this.

Leave a Reply