A long-cooked roux and a couple world-class key ingredients make for one magical meal.
By Ari Weinzweig
My friend Sarah Roahen, who lived for many years in New Orleans and who wrote extensively on the subject many years ago in her lovely little book, Gumbo Tales, reminded me way back when, that gumbo is, indeed, a special occasion meal. Which, this time of year, most definitely might make it just right for Mardi Gras, or just an evening you want to elevate into one that’s especially excellent!
How we make our gumbo.
This Roadhouse Gumbo starts with a four-hour roux—flour and butter slowly cooked together to become the thickening agent. A roux is a Louisiana specialty and perhaps the single most critical component of a good gumbo. The longer you cook it, the darker and more flavorful the roux. Celery, onions, and peppers (known as the Holy Trinity in Cajun cooking) for sure.
Right now, the stars of the Roadhouse gumbo pot are amazingly delicious wild-caught shrimp we’re getting from the folks at Locals Seafood in North Carolina. While nearly 90 percent of shrimp sold in the U.S. today come from southeast Asian shrimp farms, these are wild caught off the coast of North Carolina, cleaned, and frozen in a matter of hours after leaving the water. We’ve been getting them since last spring and it’s been one of the biggest menu quality improvements we’ve made. (I far prefer the cleaner, more complex, sweeter flavor of wild-caught, cold water-sourced shrimp—as opposed to farm-raised in warmer waters!). The gumbo’s also got a good bit of the Roadhouse’s amazing pit-smoked chicken—smoked three hours over oak—and plenty of spices. (Order a whole chicken from the Roadhouse to take home, Mon-Thursday evenings only.) Garnished with traditional gumbo filé (dried sassafras powder) and served with a scoop of that incredible heirloom, organic, field-ripened Carolina Gold rice from Anson Mills.
Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Roadhouse with our Shrimp and Smoked Chicken Gumbo at lunch and dinner, or come on by any Monday for a bowl during the year!