The parades are rolling, Carnival colors of purple, green and gold are everywhere, krewes stand dressed and ready heed the calls of “Throw me something, Mister!” and kitchens across the region are turning out bowls of hearty Mardi Gras gumbo by the gumbo pots full. It’s that time of year again for the Places In The Home seasonings Mardi Gras gumbo good time history lesson and recipe feature.
In rural Cajun parishes of Louisiana, costumed participants saddled up and on horseback make the Fat Tuesday run- the annual Courir de Mardi Gras.
Masked riders will hunt, gather and produce ingredients found at local farms to put in the end of run community gumbo.
Gumbo recipes in our area of the world range from chicken and andouille sausage to duck to seafood full of shrimp, crab and oysters. Bell pepper, onion and celery- the Cajun holy trinity- gets the seasonings mardi gras gumbo ball rolling.
For a period back in the lat 1970’s, my dad got on a kick of making duck and seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve. Good times! He stopped cooking seafood or duck gumbo upon discovering the ultimate taste of Mardi Gras, Prejean’s Seafood Gumbo.
Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, Prejean’s (pronouned pray-shjohn) Restaurant is a family style restaurant serving Cajun and Creole dishes. There is a difference between Cajun and Creole foods, but not nearly enough to matter to most. I found the recipe on Prejean’s Facebook page and am sharing it.
One look on their page and you will see what the buzz is all about. One visit to the restaurant and you’ll know what the buzz is all about.
Prejean’s Seafood Gumbo
¾ cup oil
1 cup flour
Kitchen bouquet (optional)
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell pepper
½ cup chopped celery
1 gallon water
4 ounces chicken bouillon granules
2 bay leaves
seasonings: 1 tsp. Salt*, black pepper, and red pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 pounds peeled shrimp
1 pound crabmeat
1 pound crawfish
2 cups oysters (optional)
¼ cup green onions
*Salt should not be added until late in the simmering process, after some of the water has evaporated. Salt is already present in the bouillon broth.
Heat oil in large, heavy pot. Add flour slowly, stirring all the while. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dark brown in color. (If you are worried about burning the roux, cook to a medium dark color and add Kitchen Bouquet for extra color). All at once, add the chopped onions, bell pepper, and celery. Continue to cook until vegetables are transparent (about 10-15 minutes). Add bay leaves and seasonings and cook on low for 45 minutes. Add 1 gallon of water and the 4 ounces of chicken bouillon to the roux and stir slowly until thoroughly mixed. One minute prior to servings, add shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, and oysters to the gumbo. Serve in a bowl over rice. Garnish with chopped green onion tops. Serves 8.
The seasonings and measurements of a mardi gras gumbo recipe can be the best kept secret. Depending on who the chef is and what region the mardi gras gumbo is cooked in, the gumbo could be served over the traditional favorite, rice, as well as saltine crackers, french bread, a boiled egg and a hearty scoop of potato salad. Pass the file and a good time, it’s Mardi Gras gumbo season in Louisiana. Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to NOLA Cuisine for a quick course in everything c’est si bon!