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LOOKING for: Gumbo question

Posted by rosies ( on
Sat, Jun 21, 08 at 12:47

I want to make a Louisiana gumbo with shrimp and oysters but also want to know what you think about putting in some catfish? I never did that before and don't want to mess up a good gumbo but still would like to use the catfish. It has a little strong taste for frying and I thought this might be a good way to use it. What do you think?
Thanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: LOOKING for: Gumbo question

It will only make the gumbo better. And if it falls apart, no problem, thats the way I like it.

RE: LOOKING for: Gumbo question

Catfish makes wonderful gumbo.

RE: LOOKING for: Gumbo question


I was purusing this forum for ideas and saw your post and could not help myself.

From my experience, gumbo is a very geographically unique (even within the southeast/gulf coast region) and often a family unique thing as well.

You mention Lousiana gumbo. I don't know that I have ever had Lousiana gumbo (or any for that matter) that had catfish in it. It certainly would be wonderful if you like it and its your style. It certainly is very mild and I could not see it hurting a thing and it seems others with experience swear by it. The Lousiana gumbo I became used to in the few years I lived in New Orleans often had chicken and sausage in it as must include ingredients whether it was called seafood gumbo or just gumbo. I typically did not care as much for the Lousiana traditional style of gumbo as what I was used to but that is probably an acquired bias. The very traditional crawfish dishes and recipes however were phenominal and I was fortunate enough to have some true locals enlighten me as to the proper way to prepare them in the Lousiana/New Orleans tradition. Recipes I cherish today.

From my family history which is predominately the Alabama gulf coast, seafood gumbo (which is all we fixed) had only seafood in it (chicken, sausage etc is generally taboo) and is a family recipe that has been handed down for generations. We did not categorize catfish as seafood but rather river or pond food... not to diss it and I love good catfish but it is not seafood! The recipe does not include any fish for that matter but only shell fish. Also, be careful with the oysters. If not absolutely a really good batch and really fresh, they can mess up a good pot of gumbo in a minute. To my taste, the oysters available retail today (already shucked) are generally bubbled so heavily (washed...a req'd FDA process for many years) that they have very little flavor left. We always added oysters as an option and only the day of serving and to the amount being served at that sitting. As the availability of good oysters has declined over the years, we have almost eliminated them as an ingredient. I only add them now if I can find a good sack and have the time and patience to shuck them fresh that day.

Cooking the gumbo we used to make qualified as a social event that began about mid-morning and culminated with its very brief debut as an appetizer (cup) for that evening's meal. The main amount of gumbo of course was placed in the fridge to meld overnight before its main serving in the next day or so. Because of the time involved, I usually make a 12 - 20 quart batch and freeze batches for future enjoyment and/or to give to friends.

Sorry for more info than requested but gumbo in our family is almost a religion and I had to respond.

RE: LOOKING for: Gumbo question

I agree with breezy. My Grandma was from NOLA (and all of her family is from south Louisiana), and she never put catfish in her seafood gumbo. Catfish is just a different kind of "seafood". She also never put oysters in her seafood gumbo, they go in chicken gumbo. Her seafood gumbo has shrimp/crawfish, crabs, sausage, tasso/ham and sometimes some chicken. Her chicken file' gumbo had chicken, sausage, ham and oysters. Living in Colorado we have trouble getting fresh flavorful oysters, so we add clam juice to our file' gumbo to give it the flavor that the fresh oysters add. Her seafood gumbo is spicey, the chicken gumbo is not.

I also agree that the gumbo is much better the next day, but I can never resist eating it the day we make it so I always have a cup that day too. My grandma used to use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make a gumbo to freeze and serve on Christmas Eve as we all gathered at her house to open gifts --- it was delicious! She'd also use leftover turkey from Christmas dinner to make another gumbo to freeze.

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