Deep South
Andy Sewell

I’ve always known about gumbo, the defining dish of Louisiana’s cuisine. My introduction to Cajun cooking came from watching Justin Wilson’s television show as a kid. Southerners should know inherently that gumbo is made from a combination of shellfish, andouille sausage, poultry or game, but I like it with catfish too, just the same.

This is a go-against-the-grain dish for many cooks. To develop a good flavour, you’ll need to cook the roux until it is deeply chocolatey in colour with an aroma of toasted flour. A lot of cooking these days doesn’t dig into finding flavour through this route. It is just as important an element of the dish as the okra, and what many suggest to be the etymological source of the name Gumbo. In the Angolan and Choctaw tongue, it is strikingly close phonetically.


Quantity Ingredient
3 quail
60g lard
60g plain flour
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g Andouille, diced
200g okra, cut into slices 1cm thick
1 litre Light and dark chicken stock
125g large raw peeled prawns
a bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
tabasco sauce
lemon juice
sea salt
steamed or boiled rice, to serve


  1. First spatchcock the quail: put each one breast-side down on a board and, using a pair of poultry scissors, cut out the backbone. Turn the bird over and press down gently on the breast bone, then splay the quail open. Set aside.
  2. Melt the lard in a large, deep, 4-litre castiron pan over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook to a dark brown roux, stirring constantly. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and a teaspoon of salt and sweat until tender. Stir in the andouille and the okra. Gradually stir in the hot stock until the mixture has a light, velvety texture.
  3. Season the quail with salt and nestle them into the stew. Simmer, stirring, for 4–5 minutes. Stir in the prawns and reduce the heat to low. Cook for a few minutes longer, until the birds are done. Stir in the spring onions and season with Tabasco, lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve with rice.
Southern cooking
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