I’m a slut for turning anything into a themed event, so when my homegirl @jesshartdesign suggested rustlin’ up some gumbo to complement our True Blood marathon I nearly shat my pants with joy. Sookie Stackhouse, bottled Bud and a hotpot of bubblin’ Louisiana vamp-juice – what’s not to love?
Heres how: Start with the Cajun Holy Trinity (in which the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are represented by celery, green pepper and onions, respectively). Finely dice your God-mix and leave it to sweat gently in a large pan with a glug of olive oil. For the sake of clarity, we’re calling this pan The Church.
In a separate saucepan (The Cauldron) get started on the blood: rich vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, a splash of red wine, a shot of bourbon and a veritable gang war of herbs and spices (parsley, dill, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and black pepper). Simmer away until the booze begins to evaporate and the mix no longer tastes like happy hour at Merlotte’s Bar & Grill.
Once the trinity has softened in The Church, throw in some torn chestnut mushrooms, thyme leaves, sweet Scotch bonnets, vampire-warding garlic and chunks of human flesh. For the last part, I used smokey ‘facon’ and veggie sausage but you could definitely use actual dead animals if you have no morals.
The final shift at the morgue (chopping board) involves kale, lettuce, red pepper, baby corn and okra. These join the aromatic congregation in The Church along with a tin of cannellini beans and enough boiling water to nearly cover the mix. Leave this on a very low heat whilst the greens wilt.
At this point you should have a Cauldron of bloody liquid and a boiled congregation in The Church. Next, take a large, deep pan (The Gumbo Pot) and heat some olive oil before adding plain flour and molesting with a balloon whisk until the roux cooks to a fawny beige. Add gradual ladles of the stock and let the sauce amalgamate (metaphor for precarious nature of integration in Deep South).
Empty The Church into The Gumbo Pot, turn the heat down and give a witch-like cackle as you swirl the mixture about. Upon tasting, I decided mine needed an arseload more salt, pepper, paprika, tobasco, etc. Finally, leave the gumbo to simmer (anything between 10mins and a thousand years – if the blood clots, hot water will loosen it).
I fancied something more pornographic than the traditional rice accompaniment so I took a small bowl and combined garlic, onion, mustard, egg, sour cream and grated smoked cheddar. I spread this goo over toasted walnut bread and grilled until bubbling like a vampire on a sunbed. A buttery corn-on-the-cob and a bowl of hot, smokey gumbo later, I was drawlin’ like I done lived in Bon Temps all mah laaaaife.