I feel like this recipe will serve a very specific population: those of us who love gumbo but aren’t glued to a specific perspective or tradition with our food.
It boggles my mind that anyone wouldn’t love gumbo, but I remember a number of colleagues returning from a trip to New Orleans and reporting that, to them, gumbo tasted like “burnt soup.” So, obviously a taste for gumbo is key (and obviously my colleagues were crazy).
In addition to loving gumbo, you also need to be okay with coloring outside the lines. There is nothing traditional about serving gumbo with cheese on top of french fries. Granted, serving gumbo on potato salad is a well-respected tradition, but fries are a whole other thing. And let’s not even begin to talk about the inclusion of cheese. Some people are very opinionated and set in their ways about gumbo – whether there’s a roux, whether there’s seafood involved, and, well, many other factors. Those people would probably hate this recipe and would be quick to tell you that cheese has nothing to do with gumbo.
BUT, the rest of us will find something truly amazing in this recipe, which comes from one of my top inspirations: Joy the Baker. For the uninitiated, poutine is a dish that originated in Quebec and combines french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Obviously, Joy made some adjustments and swapped a chicken and sausage gumbo for the brown gravy – WHICH IS GENIUS. You can find her recipe for this dish here.
I made this recipe almost identically to Joy, although cheese curds aren’t readily available in my corner of the Midwest so I used a block of Buffalo Mozzarella that I chopped into curd-sized pieces. I also used bone-in chicken for the gumbo and just shredded the meat (discarding the bones) before pouring over the fries. It worked perfectly. If you’re on the fence, all I can say is TRY THIS RECIPE. It’s so delicious. And, if you haven’t already, check out Joy’s blog.