I know the best people. My beautiful friend from high school, Cindy Valdez Manus, shared a portion of her father's famous gumbo with me over the holidays. Apparently, Enrique (Henry) Valdez, has all kinds of kitchen skills. He also sent me some homemade venison tamales that I'll blog about later.
Just look at this gumbo. And as good as it looks, I swear that it tastes even better. I've never had the knack for making great gumbo, so I'm always impressed when others pull it off. What strikes me most about Henry's gumbo is how deeply satisfying it is on every level, with a round, rich mouthfeel, just a hint of spiciness, the perfect amount of salt, which can be tricky when using sausage, and a nice balance between meats and vegetables.
Now I'm going to have to learn how to make gumbo, because I'm hooked! Or maybe Henry will start selling gumbo as a cottage industry. I'd buy it all the time. :)
A huge thanks to Henry Valdez for giving me a warm and cozy meal that was much needed on a winter night. Through your food, so lovingly prepared, your affection for your family is obvious. Everyone should have such a father!
By the way, I cooked up some Texmati rice to go with the gumbo. I also made a gremolata of parsley and raw garlic as a condiment. Props, too, to The Chickpea Chickadee, as I unabashedly stole her gumbo presentation for my photo. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!