Side Orders: Sausage, chicken and shrimp gumbo is a Mardi Gras must-have

Anne Braly

Don't let Mardi Gras pass you by without making up a big pot of gumbo. Even if you don't celebrate Fat Tuesday, it's still a great time to whip up a batch. Gumbo is one of the easiest of all New Orleans favorites and for such a simple recipe it carries an amazing complexity of flavors.

Ask any Cajun who makes the best gumbo, and the answer is usually, "My mamma." For most every pot and every cook, there's a different recipe. Maybe it's something major, like ingredients, or perhaps it's just cooking times or a particular cooking vessel.

photo Anne Braly

The topic of gumbo looms large this time if year, with the best recipes involving several hours standing over a stove or outside fire stirring with, most probably, a special spoon, perhaps carved from a nearby cypress.