Did you just say you don’t know what to serve with gumbo? Don’t worry because this article is going to answer the question lingering in your mind.
What is gumbo and what is its origin?
It is one of the most famous dishes in America especially Louisiana state. This dish is special because it discriminates not. Both the rich and the poor make and eat the meal where the additional ingredients differ from one cook to the next.
Gumbo is basically a meal that comprises of a thick sauce of meat, okra, Creole and Cajun seasoning. However, there are various speculations about its origin with the 19th century seeing the rise of this delicacy. The basic ingredients used in its preparation originated in West Africa, Choctaw native America and French.
This essentially means that there is no country that takes credit for its rise but it’s greatly treasured in New Orleans, Louisiana and Cajun cultures. In fact, this is a good combination of European and African cultural cuisines. Most people say the name originates from West Africa.
How does it taste?
To be honest, there are many types of gumbo which make the taste vary according to the ingredients used in its preparation. Some types of gumbo have their protein being only seafood, others have chicken and sausage or basically meat, while others combine both kinds and the last group contains no meat for proteins.
If you are a newbie to tasting this meal you should be able to note one major factor, gumbo will only be as tasty as the ingredients used in its preparation and the effort devoted. It may taste like seafood, meat or veggies but understand that it authentically is a colourful, tasty and appealing dish.
Types of gumbo
Here is the deal:
We can’t clearly understand the side dishes of gumbo before knowing the major types of gumbo. This is a very versatile dish with different ingredients used in its preparation as well as different cooks making it differently. Below are the types
The seafood gumbo
This is gumbo that has shrimps, crabmeat and sausages as the major ingredients. It is usually very spicy with its thickener being okra. Well, this is specifically a good option for those who believe that gumbo is not gumbo without okra. The meal further uses tomato sauce and its best served over rice to complete the dish.
The chicken gumbo
From the name, you know that the meal has chicken as a major ingredient. In addition, the thickeners used are both okra and roux,
While this is not a typical gumbo recipe it’s is such a good dish. It contains the mixture of gumbo and jambalaya with an addition of sausages, chicken, shrimp and vegetable. It’s quick and easy to make.
Chicken and sausage gumbo
This is like the chicken gumbo with an addition of sausage in the recipe.
Turkey and sausage gumbo
Do you have leftover meat protein in your fridge?
This meal will help you make use them. You can use the turkey, chicken or any other leftover roast to toss in your gumbo mixture and add the common French sausage to come up with this sumptuous meal.
What to serve with gumbo
All those who are familiar with gumbo know that rice major side dish. In fact, it goes with any type of gumbo. As an ancient invention the indigenous champions of this meal used white rice as its side dish and up to date, nothing has been known to replace it. Rice is your best bet.
Those who love this dish say that rice is the only side dish appropriate for this meal. Although when you talk of potato salad everyone lightens up. They believe that this is an exceptional case. Most chefs don’t use eggs or other pickles for the preparation of potato salad which makes it appropriate as a side dish.
Note that, there are many recipes to try online on how to make the appropriate potato salad for your gumbo.
Nicely baked sweet potatoes
If you want to try something new then go for sweet potatoes. You see, when you bake the sweet potatoes perfectly you are sure to develop a natural tasting sweet syrup in your dish.
The major trick is not to prick the sweet potato as they bake neither do you need to peel off its skin.
Shout out to cheese lovers!
One can never go wrong with cheese bread when it comes to gumbo. This is because it’s soft and spongy texture will fit into your meal well when dipped into the gumbo.
The thought of it is yummy, isn’t it?
You can also use French bread, cornbread and most other kinds of bread for this meal.
It is also known as Arabic bread. However, I specifically mention it here because you can use it when baked as bread or fried chips where you pan fry the pita bread. Some people find it hard to make it but you got to trust that it’s so damn delicious.
As you all know this is another greatly loved meal in southern Louisiana which is also the hub for gumbo.
I cannot tell if the reason for its fame in that state is because of the love for gumbo but I do know one thing, this is another amazing side dish.
You can use cayenne in making the hush puppies and make it crispy and appealing to the eye.
This is the green salad used as a side dish or base for your meal. You can basically use 9 types of greens in making this salad namely:
- Turnip greens
- Swiss chard
- Beet tops
This is a good option for those who are vegetarian but you may also use meat to make the salad. Plus, the good news is that you can use green salad with any kind of gumbo.
What the hell!!
Yes, you heard me right. This was the most preferred side dish for this meal in the olden days. But, there are people who still use it as a side dish. Make sure the eggs are hard-boiled. Boiled eggs best accompany chicken gumbo.
The things to know
Most societies in the world today take food for granted. Food is not only vital for the nourishment of our bodies but also a unifier. Have you ever asked yourself why when people meet for dinner, coffee, lunch or whichever meal there is usually a joyful energy around them?
Take gumbo, for example, this complete meal is from about 5 cultures of different continents. This means that when you talk of gumbo in Europe they know what that is, in Africa and America too. The dish is a unifier of people from different cultures.
Always begin by making the roux first
The roux determines the quality of your gumbo. Making it may be tricky and time-consuming but if you will take your time here, the results will be inevitably perfect.
Furthermore, a good gumbo requires a dark roux and to achieve this you need to bring your roux to an almost burning point but be careful not to burn it.
The ingredients you use in your gumbo determine its quality
Its advisable to play around with various additional ingredients if you are to make a perfect meal.
Your meats should be tasty and rich in flavour
Most people would quickly take the chicken or seafood and dip in the gumbo. I wouldn’t do that because I want my last result being tasty and nice.
Its advisable to either roast the chicken/turkey or duck in the oven to give it that crisp look. And when it comes to the shrimp and other seafood, remember to add them to the pot when your meal is almost ready because of their delicate nature.
The gumbo is also going green.
This is for the vegan and vegetarian in the house. It came up to suit the Catholics good Friday practice but you can now spice it up with vinegar and pepper making it appealing to the mouth. Remember, more people are joining the meat-free world which makes the green gumbo a better option.
You don’t always have to use okra in the gumbo.
This is one of the common meals that draws diverse cultures together. While it’s a dish that is quite filling and mostly containing all nutrients needed for a meal you can make use of various side dishes. The best side dish is the green salad because of the nutrients it carries along.
To enjoy gumbo more, serve it like the indigenous founders do. Accompany the meal with some hot sauce, chopped sauce and green parsley. When preparing the dish, however, make sure you give it ample time to cook slowly to perfection.
For the best results, regardless of your recipe choice if it is not authentically your own, you can add some creativity to the recipe. After all, cooking is an art, right?