It seems fitting that January is National Soup Month. The cold, snow, and early darkness demand comfort food…and soup is one that fulfills that demand. From the simplest broth to the most complex stew, soup has been a staple of the human diet for as long as cooking has. Soup was an easy meal for travelers, sailors, and soldiers because dried meat could be soaked in hot water to make a broth and, then, root vegetables could be added for nutritional value. Root vegetables such as potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips, traveled well and, hence, were stored all winter long.
Most historians believe that the word “soup” came from a Latin verb suppare — meaning to soak; however, some historians think that it came from the French soupe or sope. No matter the etymological origins of the word, every culture has had some variety of soup since its inception.
This month, aerochug.com will be highlighting National Soup Month, including those restaurants in Ruston that have special soups on their menu. Before the tour of restaurants begins, though, here’s a great recipe for Louisiana’s own — gumbo.
12 c. water
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 onion, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 large bell pepper, or 2 medium size, seeds removed and diced
1 bunch parsley, diced
5 small cloves garlic, peeled and diced
2 T. Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
1-2# medium shrimp
2 cans crab meat (chunk is best b/c it doesn’t have shell in it)
1-2# smoked, or andouille, sausage
1. In water in large stock pot, add chicken and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until chicken is tender and falls off the bone. Keeping stock, remove chicken and remove all meat. Set aside.
2. Saute vegetables until soft and add to stock. Return chicken to pot with crab and sausage.
3. Add 1/2 c. roux (see below)
4. Simmer for 4 hours, add shrimp, and simmer until shrimp are done (they’ll usually float).
5. While simmering after adding shrimp, cook rice.
6. Serve over rice. If desired, add a pinch of file, or Tabasco.
Gumbo almost always tastes better the next day, after sitting in the fridge overnight!
Roux can be incredibly difficult to make for anyone who isn’t shown. Despite knowing how, a lot of people will use a jarred or powdered roux because it tastes just as good and is a lot easier. Try Tony Chachere’s Instant Roux and Gravy Mix or Kary’s Roux. Both are excellent!
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