Coast Cooking

Gumbo is a fitting cool-weather treat on the Coast

What could be better this time of year than a bowl of gumbo?
What could be better this time of year than a bowl of gumbo? Special to the Sun Herald

This week I’m going to blog about a few Gulf Coast fall and winter classics.

We sit at an amazing culinary juncture in South Mississippi, which is a gumbo of cultures, including Native American, African, European and local, considered Creole and Cajun, and all the other cultures that have wandered through this part of the world.

What dish could be more representative of our food culture than gumbo?

Don’t let this simple recipe intimidate you. It is as easy as can be, if you take it step by step.

Here are the steps

Make a chicken stock with chicken backs and bones, a chopped onion and a few carrots. Add a few gumbo crabs 15 minutes before it is done. While that is simmering, sauté smoked sausage in oil until browned, remove and set aside. Add onions, bell pepper and celery to the pan and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. In the same pan quickly sauté a pound or two or large shrimp. Remember to season as you go with red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Make a dark brown roux with equal parts of butter and flour. Combine everything but the shrimp, throw in a filet or two of local fish, whisk in the roux and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp, cook 5 minutes longer and you are done. Serve with boiled rice.

By the way, I’ll be making gumbo with my friend Kimberly Wilson on Wednesday at the Mary C. O’Keefe for their Lunch N Learn program. Class starts at 11:30 a.m., but make sure to make reservations 228-818-2878. Look for a guest appearance by Chef Milton Joachim of Charred.