Monday, February 28, 2011

Creamy Gumbo Potato Salad

Gumbo potato salad generally has no eggs or pickles in it and is mostly mashed. It's perfect for eating with gumbo, whether you scoop it right into the gumbo bowl, or serve it on the side.

Gumbo Potato Salad

The second you saw Gumbo Potato Salad as the title of this post you probably thought one of two things. You knew exactly what I was talking about or you thought I'd gone and lost my mind.  Don't worry. The Cajun himself looked at me like I had two heads, and I'm pretty sure that it was the same look I had the first time I saw a guy I was dating put a scoop of potato salad in his gumbo.

This "gumbo" potato salad, unlike the more common and chunkier Southern Style Potato Salad, has no eggs or pickles and is mostly mashed. It's perfect for eating with gumbo, whether you scoop it right into the gumbo bowl, or serve it on the side. Some folks like it that way with red beans too.  While the concept is pretty much a regional thing, if you live down in this part of The Deep South, you either grew up with your family putting potato salad in their gumbo, or else it's totally foreign to you. If you come from the latter, you can find recipes or references in several popular Louisiana cookbooks including Donald Link's Real Cajun, Time-Picayune's Cooking up a Storm, and John Besh's My New Orleans, to name a few.

My mother in law actually makes her regular potato salad more on the creamy side like this anyway, though she does include the eggs and pickles, and a bit more mayonnaise and mustard than I do. Adjust those ingredients as you like them.

Whatever you do, don't stir the potato salad into the gumbo! It is intended to be served freshly made, even just a little bit warm, and scooped right in the bowl. You eat it by taking a bit of the potato salad on a spoon, and then dip the spoon into the gumbo. Use an ice cream or cookie scoop to scoop it right into the gumbo, with or without rice, whatever you choose, or simply serve the potato salad in a dish on the side.

For more of my favorite potato salad recipes, pop over to my Pinterest page!

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Recipe: Creamy Gumbo Potato Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2-1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold, Red or Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of finely minced onion
  • 1 large stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy Creole style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 10 turns of the pepper grinder
  • Paprika to garnish, optional

Peel and cut potatoes to a small dice. Boil until tender and crumbly, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Place into serving bowl and use a masher to partially mash them, leaving some chunks.

Add the onion, celery, green onion and parsley to the potatoes; toss. In a separate small bowl, mix together the 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper; spoon over the potatoes. Toss again until all the potatoes are coated, adding additional mayonnaise to reached desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Sprinkle top lightly with paprika, if desired. To serve with gumbo, spoon gumbo into individual serving bowls, with or without rice, and use a cookie scoop to place a scoop of the potato salad right into the bowl. Can also serve on the side.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Cook's Notes: Yukon Gold and Red New Potatoes produce a creamier potato salad than Russets, though pretty much any potato will work. With a starchier baking potato, you will likely need to add more mayonnaise however. Boiled eggs and sweet pickles, typically found in most southern potato salads, have been omitted in this gumbo style potato salad. If you are making this potato salad for a potluck, picnic, or barbecue, instead of for gumbo, however, feel free to add in one to two tablespoons of sweet pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles, and two to three chopped, hard boiled eggs.


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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Posted by on February 28, 2011
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  1. Although I grew up in Mobile, have family in N.O. I had never heard of this. That being said, it sounds delicious!! I bet a bunch of folks have never heard of potato salad sandwiches...those are good too. Just because it sounds odd doesnt mean a thing! :D

  2. I was born and raised in Lake Charles. I've told my kids about gumbo and potato salad for years but I don't think they believed me. Now I can show them a picture!! We used our regular potato salad though--but with extra onions in it--and it had to be cold. There is just something about the cold potato salad with the hot gumbo and rice. YUM!!

    1. Agreed. Potato Salad had to be cold with hot Gumbo.

    2. Disagree!! ;) But... that's what is so wonderful about cooking. Every cook does it just a bit different from another. I would never walk into your kitchen and tell you that you're doing your gumbo potato salad wrong, because in your home, that's the right way!!

      The "gumbo" potato salad that I know is not the same potato salad that is made and refrigerated for a side dish, although for some families I am sure that it is one and the same as Sheila has indicated for her family.

      In my experience, gumbo potato salad is a different potato salad, as I have indicated here in my recipe, and unlike it's side dish cousin, it's usually freshly made and often, even still a bit warm when served with gumbo - although it can certainly also be refrigerated before serving, like any other. There is no right or wrong way however - just eat, and enjoy it, especially if somebody else is cooking for you!!

    3. I am so glad to see someone making it the way I was raised to eat it. Room temp potato salad with chicken gumbo and rice. I like PS cold too tho. The cold PS with hot gumbo is so good.

  3. I've never heard of this, but I'd be game to try it!

  4. Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it.

  5. Actually, I thought it would be potato salad with okra in it.

  6. icharlotte, I'm thinking that it's a common thing in the Lake Charles area, like Sheila mentioned, though everybody makes it a bit different of course.

    Sheila, its true that a lot of folks don't change the potato salad at all for gumbo.

    Eva, think of it like mashed potatoes with gumbo gravy LOL!!

    Sunni, it really is I swear!

    Larry, LOL is all I can say about okra in potato salad! :)

  7. Too funny, Larry! I was thinking it would have some type of roux in it.

    P.S. This is pregnant mama had to head to a local BBQ joint for potato salad today! I had been craving it all morning.

  8. Actually I didn't think you had lost your mind, but I must admit I've never heard of potato salad on the side of gumbo. It sounds wonderful. Spring is in the air and it is getting to be potato salad season, I might just have to give this a try.

  9. Oh Sunni, LOL but I totally get it! :)

    Lee Ann, I'm pretty sure potato salad season never stops around here! People even serve it at the holidays!!

  10. Got me with one Mary! Crazy but good is all I can say :)

  11. Mary, you've just taught me something new! I've never heard of that food combination, but it sounds just wonderful. Can never get enough potatoes in my life! Be well, friend! Roz

  12. The first thing I thought when I saw this was that it reminds me of my favorite Shrimp and Grits at a local restaurant because they use a two big hunks of thick grits covered with a Tasso gravy. Your picture looks like that and I have got to try this one even though I'm not a gumbo kind of guy! Great post.

  13. I've never commented on one of these things before, but had to put my two cents in. This is exactly what my mama would do for Gumbo, except she did put relish and green olives in nreally need smooth not chunky with Gumbo, of course I've had it both ways but the smooth just does it... By the way, I love this site. You have really done something here to share and preserve the food and the heart of the Coastal South. Born and raised in Pascagoula, still here. Thanks again.

  14. Hi Lisa! Thanks for much for your sweet words & for taking the time from your busy day to leave a comment!! I hope that you continue to enjoy the site.

  15. As you can see I'm well after the fact of adding a comment....but I just found your website and I love it. My family is from a small country town outside of New Orleans called Reserve. We have always eaten our potato salad right in the bowl with our gumbo and yes right along with the rice too. I didn't know that anyone did this but us county folks! LOL!!

  16. Apparently I'm rather late to this party but have to say I didn't know there was any other way to eat your potato salad with your gumbo. I make potato salad two ways - my Grandma's version with homemade mayonnaise, potatoes and eggs only; and then for the boyfriend I have to add a little yellow mustard, green onions and pickle relish. Dang it. Now I want potato salad. And gumbo.

  17. LOL Leiah, I understand because I often do that to myself!

  18. If serving with potato salad, is rice also included with the gumbo?

    1. Oddly yes, most times! It's really a personal preference though. Some folks like a scoop of both, some just rice, some just potato salad. Some like the rice in the gumbo and potato salad on the side. If you're including the potato salad, be sure to also offer rice.

  19. I love it warm.A lady from La. made gumbo for me and some friends and served potato salad,I thought hmmm I like both so why not!I make it and my family loves it! As luck would have it,my brother married a Cajun girl! Lol,she gave me recipes I use often.I'm making it this weekend for our fall fest,can't wait! Thanks for your recipe!

  20. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this potato salad. I was asked to bring a salad to a party where they were serving gumbo. So, I "googled salad with gumbo" and this recipe showed up. It got rave reviews...some tried it in their gumbo. I have made it numerous times with and without it both ways. Yukon Golds are the BEST!!! I also like that it doesn't have a too much of a mayo taste and NO eggs or pickles. The only thing I do extra is sprinkle a little Tony's or comparable "Creole" seasoning over the warm potatoes. I have also substitued some of the mayo with sour cream. A wonderful kitchen tool that I was introduced to recently has made cubing the potatoes so much FUN...the Vidalia Chop Wizzard as seen on TV. It is also great for dicing the celery and onions.

    1. Thank you Anita for such a sweet note! I was fixing to shut her down for the evening and saw your message. I have a chopper like that too & I love it, but I recently got a dicing attachment for my food processor. I love that thing!

  21. Potato salad with gumbo and rice is my favorite comfort food... That and good homemade spicey boudain balls... I love Cajun food here in orange, TX we are right on the Louisiana border and Cajun food is a favorite.... Yummy!!! I also. Agree in my family side dish potato salad and gumbo potato salad are different but in the gumbo potato salad we use eggs no pickles..y'all have a delicious day!!!

  22. Potato salad with gumbo and rice is my favorite comfort food... That and good homemade spicey boudain balls... I love Cajun food here in orange, TX we are right on the Louisiana border and Cajun food is a favorite.... Yummy!!! I also. Agree in my family side dish potato salad and gumbo potato salad are different but in the gumbo potato salad we use eggs no pickles..y'all have a delicious day!!!

  23. Wow! I grew up with gumbo (my mom grew up on the Louisiana border of Texas like Tiffany) and have had so many versions of gumbo. Several years ago, while visiting NOLA with husband and then-little kids for the 4th time, we went to this excellent (now closed) restaurant in the Treme called Two Sisters Kitchen. It was some of the best food we'd ever eaten. Husband and I got gumbo and they brought it out with the yummiest potato salad! Almost 10 years later, I finally understand!

    I am so late to comment on this, but I found your blog through a google search for yakamein after hearing about it on a podcast called Beyond Bourbon Street.


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