Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, eat some gumbo me-o, my-o
According to yours truly, it’s the backbone (or neck bone, if you will) of Cajun cuisine.
Having lived in Lafayette, La. for 10 years of my life, I am well tasted in what makes gumbo good.
Now, I will admit that I have never made gumbo nor would I ever attempt to. There are plenty of talented people out there making it without me screwing it up.
The key to a good gumbo is the reaux. You have to get that right or nothing else matters.
The right reaux in a gumbo should taste like you went out back with a giant ladle, scooped up some mud, and tossed it in the bottom of the pot.
I have eaten gumbo in dozens or places, but just a few have earned my reaux respect.
Anyone with the last name of Bassler, knows how to mix up some out-of-sight gumbo.
Steamboat Bill’s in Lake Charles is as good as it gets.
Bayou City Seafood in Houston is in the conversation.
After the latest Lion’s Club soup night, we may have a new member of this elite club.
Teri York is a caterer and a Lion and was chief cook at these soup nights, but on the final evening, she brewed up some gumbo, using a handme down recipe from RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller.
It was a smash.
Miller’s recipe is steeped in the swamps of Louisiana in a six degrees of separation kind of way.
Miller played in high school for Warren Trahan at Cypress Fairbanks. Trahan is the former Texas A&M lineman, who happens to be from Lafayette.
Miller also played football at Southwestern Louisiana, which is located in—Lafayette.
Miller took a job with Trahan when he got out of college, which is where he first learned how to make gumbo with him.
“I just started cooking it with Coach Trahan when I worked for him at Bay City,” Miller said. “I have adapted it quite a bit over the years. Coach (Eric) Willard and I have probably cooked 75 to 100 pots over the last 11 years. He is my right hand man— meaning I sit and watch while he does all of the work.
While recipes are usually reserved for the Lifestyle page, we’ll give sports fans a chance at this delicious dish.
CAJUN COACH GUMBO
1 Gallon per 10 people (3/4 of the gallon is water and 1/4 is chicken broth)
About ½ pound of meat per person
For every gallon you will need:
• 1 pint of reaux
• Either two chopped onions and 2 chopped bell peppers or
2 bags of frozen chopped vegetables (I use the frozen “seasoned blend” that you can buy at just about any grocery store)
• 3 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• About 1/4 big bottle of Tony Chachere’s seasoning
• Cayenne pepper to taste
• Dice uncooked meat into small pieces
• Bring water/chicken broth mixture to a boil
• Add reaux. Very important that you stir constantly to keep reaux from burning.
This should take 30-40 minutes.
• Add vegetables, garlic, thyme, Tony’s and cayenne
• Once it starts boiling again add the meat
• Cook until meat is done
• Serve with rice
Here are the five best places to get you some gumbo:
1. Any of Brooks Bassler’s places in Houston.
2. Bayou City Seafood, also in Houston.
3. Steamboat Bill’s in Lake Charles.
4. Pat’s Seafood in Henderson, La.
5. Prejean’s in Lafayette.