I had always assumed that Cajun and Creole meant the same thing: food from the New Orleans (Louisiana) area. Not so, apparently, as explained on the New Orleans Online website where they say, "One of the simplest differences between the two cuisines is that Creole food typically uses tomatoes while traditional Cajun food does not." It goes on to say, "Cajun food is robust, country-style food, found along the bayous of Louisiana, a combination of French and Southern cuisines" whilst "Creole food is “city food,” created in New Orleans with European, African and Native American roots."
|Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com, April 2012|
As we didn't have ham we substituted chunks of cooking bacon (the sort you use for making quiche etc) and we added in extras that we like to the recipe, notably sliced button mushrooms which worked really well in the rich spicy Cajun sauce. The important things to include are the so-called "Holy Trinity" of onion, celery and bell pepper, along with the Cajun seasoning. We found that steeping the bay leaves in the stock worked really well to release the flavours, remember to remove the leaves from the stock before adding stock to the roux.
The other thing we learned was that the flavour improves by cooking longer, or even by standing overnight. The recipe said it could be made in around an hour, but other Cajun recipe sources say that gumbo should be cooked for at least three hours, so we are going to try it in the slow cooker next time we do Cajun chicken gumbo!