The Viking’s Scrappy Gumbo

This is an excellent meal made from leftover vegetables, some sausages, and rice.  It’s a hearty chowder with a Southern flair, and yet with a good smack of Viking resourcefulness.  Excellent for a cold fall or winter dinner with the family.

Fall and winter call for inner body heat and strengthen your immune system against a long list of nasty bugs or viruses.  It is a known fact that we get hit more during the colder months, and many people (kids and adults) are out of action for a few days due to the cold, flu, covid, or other malicious organisms.

Our bodies are constantly trying to fight off these viruses, so it is important that we feed and nurture our inner guardian angels; aka the immune system.

Vikings often fed on broths and stews, especially fatty mixtures filled with vegetables and meat.  The vitamins and healing powers that proper chowder brings are beyond modern vitamin pills.  And, it is bloody easy to make.

My recipe can be mixed and matched with what vegetables you have left in the fridge.  It’s an awesome way to reduce waste and utilize the lonely veggies that for some reason escaped the week of cooking.

  • ½ cup of unsalted butter … I ran out of beef lard
  • 2 peppers (red, green or yellow)
  • 1 bag of large frozen shrimps (20-25)
  • 1 onion (red or yellow)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 leek or a few sprouts of broccoli
  • 5-6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning
  • 5-6 sausages or a large chorizo
  • 2 cups of boiled rice – please note, it says boiled rice

The story of the roux

Well, Roux comes from France, of course, and has been around since the mid-1500s.  It literally means red or reddish and is often used to thicken sauces, gumbo, or chowder.  Honestly, there’s nothing fancy about a roux.  It is just flour and fat.

Many delicious meals I’ve made start off with a good roux.  Many awesome dishes from Louisiana use roux, especially gumbo which we thoroughly enjoy.

Anybody can make a bloody roux, as long as you have equal parts of flour and fats; often vegetable oil, lard, or butter.

The key to a good roux is constant stirring.  You cannot let the roux burn or get too reddish, as it will negatively impact the flavor of your gumbo or chowder.

When making a nice chowder or gumbo, I prefer using my Dutch Oven.  You have to be careful when using a Dutch Oven.  Not because it’s bloody heavy, but because it gets hot and stays hot. You cannot turn the cooker (stovetop) upon full as it will simply burn the roux – and stay very hot for a long time.  Keep the dial on around 3-4 on a 10-scale, and 2-3 on a 6-scale.

The mystery of the Dutch Oven

Le Creuset – the best choice

Funnily enough, it originates from my Dutch brothers and sisters.  In Dutch land, they simply call it a put, but during the last few centuries, it is known as the Dutch Oven and is basically a type of cast iron pot that was made by the Dutch.  You can read more about the Dutch Oven here.

Get ready to make some Viking gumbo

Despite your choice of a cooking pot, we need to start the chowder-making process.  Start to finish is roughly 35 minutes, which does not include any prep time for cutting vegetables, boiling rice, and grilling the sausages.

  1. Grill your sausages on the Traeger or other grill to get the juice grill flavor.
    1. If you are using a chorizo, then fry it on a pan and set it aside.
  2. Then we need to make a quick roux in the Dutch Oven
  3. Add the butter and flour, and start whisking
  4. When the roux is nicely reddish, add the following ingredients
    1. Onion, peppers, leek, and garlic
  5. Keep stirring the roux and vegetables for another 4-6 minutes
  6. Then you add the chicken stock while you keep stirring and get the consistency of a chowder
  7. Once your Viking chowder has a good consistency, normally around 10 minutes after adding the stock, then you add a few more ingredients;
    1. Sausage or chorizo pieces
    2. Shrimps – peeled
  8. Let the chowder simmer for 10-15 minutes while you boil the rice
  9. Spice up the chowder with the cayenne, Cajun seasoning, and oregano
  10. The last step is to add the boiled (yes, boiled) rice

Mix it around well and you are ready to serve a delicious scrappy gumbo worthy of the halls of Valhalla. Yes, the Vikings have been all over the world and brought back spices on their travels. We may not be an exotic culinary, but we travel the world and enjoy food from around the globe.

Your kids might not appreciate your efforts, but this dish will boost your body with plenty of healthy vitamins to fight off the fecking COVID and the various strains we’ve encountered in the past 18 months.

If you really want to impress your dinner guests, then you sprinkle a little chopped parsley on each serving.

I hope you enjoy the Viking “throw-it-all-in-a-pot” gumbo.  It’s an easy and wonderful dish, extremely suitable for most cold evenings from October to April. A crowd-pleaser.

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