================================ Peter's authentic Louisisana Gumbo
1 cup all purpose flour 1 cup crisco or lard or bacon drippings
DO NOT USE VEGETABLE, OLIVE, CORN OR PEANUT OILS. IF YOU DO YOUR ROUX WILL BE INFERIOR, OR DOWN-RIGHT NASTY.
Put the crisco or lard into a 10-12" cast iron skillet and put it into an oven heated to 375° F. When it's melted, stir in the flour with a whisk. The consistentncy of the mixture should be thick but smooth, like _runny_ peanut butter, so feel free to use your own judgement and add oil or flour until it has the right consistency.
Bake in the oven at about 375-425°, stirring well with the whisk every 20-30 minutes until it begins to turn brown and then every 10-20 minutes until it turns a deep mahogany color.
Be patient; don't rush the process, but at the same time WATCH THE ROUX!! DON'T BURN IT!! If you have to check and stir it fifty times, so be it. In a previous life I worked on offshore oil rigs and once I worked met a wonderful cajun named Breaux Bernice who told me "son, if you burn you roux, all the five-dollar shrimps in de worl' ain' gonna fix that gombo!
Afterwards it's simply a matter of what type of Gumbo you want. Popular types include shrimp/seafood/crab/ and chcken and/or sausage. Breaux cooked a squirrel gumbo that was one of the best things I ever ate in my entire time on this planet.
It's simply a matter of boiling up what ever you want in your gumbo into about 5-6 quarts stock with about one cup of diced onion, one cup of diced bell pepper and maybe a diced celery stalk or two (reduce or omit the celery with seafood gumbos), one big can of whole tomatoes (optional-squish 'em up of course, or use fresh ) and salt, black pepper,white pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. When it is about halfway cooked (or all the way cooked for tough meats like squirrel) add the roux, less for a thinner gumbo and more for a thicker gumbo. Me, I use all of it!
A word about okra– "gombo" is actually a Choctaw indian word for okra; they would use it as a thickener for soups. Some Louisiana cooks use it in their Gumbos and some don't. Me, I like it but whether it's fresh or frozen you have to boil it for about 30-45 minutes separately to avoid it making your gumbo stringy and gooey. When you boil it you'll see what I mean. After 30-45 minutes drain it and add it to your stock and voilá! Just like my 'tite Grande-mere used to make, cher!
Use these guidelines to experiment and make your gumbo your own. Myself, I'm a vegetarian; my gumbo is made with vegetable stock, okra, mesquite smoked pablano peppers, carrots, tomatoes and corn!! There is no right or wrong way. Serve with rice and if you really want to be authentic, get some Gumbo Filé from Fiesta and stir in a half-teaspoon of it into your bowl of gumbo right before you eat it. Laissez les bon temps rouller!!