Filé powder. Dark chocolate-brown roux. Cayenne pepper. These are the some of the ingredients that help give gumbo its signature and soul-satisfying flavor. When I discovered that Crescent Dragonwagon devoted an entire chapter in her cookbook Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread to this distinctively, and to Northerners, exotic, American soup, I knew I would want to try my hand at making a pot of gumbo before the club moved on to the next book. Having followed Crescent’s very detailed and clear instructions, I’m convinced that anyone can make a good gumbo. The making of an authentic gumbo is not to be taken lightly; it is very involved, but I assure you it is worth the work.
In the gumbo chapter, called “Gumbo Zeb,” after the version she finally settled on after trying twenty-one different gumbo recipes, Crescent gives a fascinating history of (more…)