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Three Tips for Making the Excellent Gumbo

Dara Chenevert

From 2010 to 2016, Dara Chenevert worked as the interim chief business enterprise and safety officer for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Tampa, Florida. In this capacity, she oversaw all aspects of human resource management and risk management. In her personal time, Dara Chenevert enjoys cooking and is particularly fond of making gumbo.

Although gumbo is relatively easy to make, it can be very difficult to perfect. These three tips will help make your next pot of the New Orleans staple a hit that will surely leave people asking for seconds.

1. The Roux - Roux is the starting point for any gumbo, and getting it right will go a long way in making the finished product shine. This mixture of oil and flour helps thicken the gumbo while also providing flavor. For gumbo, go for a darker roux that looks similar to melted dark chocolate. Achieving the perfect roux means cooking it almost to the point of burning, which may take some practice and dedicated attention.

2. The Stock - While some people use water, beef, seafood, or chicken stock will bring even more flavor out of your gumbo. If using a commercial stock, pay attention to how much salt is in it and adjust your gumbo recipe accordingly.

3. The Meat - Cook your meat beforehand and add it to your gumbo near the end of the cooking process to avoid overcooking the meat. This tactic is especially important for delicate and fast-cooking seafood, where overcooking leaves diners with a rubbery, tough meat.

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