If you’ve ever been to Louisiana, you’ll have learned very quickly that its history is as rich as the recipes passed down from generations of parents since at least the 1700’s. That’s when the French arrived from Canada (forced out of the Acadia region by the British) and founded New Orleans, bringing with them traditional ways of cooking and ingredients that over time became intertwined with other influences on the state’s cuisine, including African, German, Spanish, and Caribbean, to name a few.
Today, step into any restaurant or home in Louisiana and you’ll find two distinct cultures of delicious cooking—Creole and Cajun. Both need proper introduction, but there is probably no staple that brings them together as two—Gumbo and it’s roux. Although, you’ll find distinction in each.
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For example, Creoles use tomatoes and Cajuns do not, which is how you can tell the difference between Cajun and Creole gumbo (or jambalaya). The roux, including its texture and taste, is the key component in Gumbo—it’s strictly French and pretty much what makes gumbo, essentially, GUMBO, but these days you’ll also find it made in light and dark varieties.
For Louisiana-born founder Ben LeBlanc, it was Gumbo that became a major part of the reason he started the New York City-based artisanal soup company Good Stock. Growing up in Houm, LeBlanc lived by the French phrase, laissez les bon temps rouler, or “Let the good times roll!,” and eating well, both part of the fabric of life in south Louisiana.
“I missed the gumbos from back home,” he says. “It made no sense to me that in a city where you can get the best of nearly every cuisine across the globe, you couldn’t get a good gumbo.” So he set out to change that by creating his own version of the Cajun classic.
For Good Stock’s Fried Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Ben took inspiration from his favorite Louisiana chefs’ gumbos and combined their best features to make his own. While the exact recipe is secret, they start by frying farm-to-table D’Artagnan chicken (popular on the menus of all New York City’s four-star restaurants) and using the leftover oil to make a very dark roux.
While the roux is darker than most Cajun-style gumbos, the thinner broth mimics classic Cajun gumbos as opposed to the thickness of a Creole gumbo. The chicken and Andouille sausage (also from D’Artagnan) add depth to the flavor. Brought over to Louisiana by French immigrants, Andouille-style sausage is smoked pork mixed with pepper, onions, wine and seasonings.
In celebration of Marde Gras, or Fat Tuesday, alluding to the last day of feasting before Lent for Catholics, you can get your eat-on New Orleans-style at Good Stock. The Fried Chicken & Andouille gumbo will be available from February 9th – February 18th at both Good Stock locations at 31 Carmine St. in the West Village, and Urbanspace Vanderbilt (E. 45th St at Vanderbilt); $9 for 12oz or $11 for 16oz. Following the holiday, the dish will be on the rotational menu throughout the year.
For more information on Good Stock, visit the soup eatery’s website here.
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