A Little Dab of This & A Little Dash of That

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Gumbo


     If I ever get around to getting a cookbook put together, there will be a section entitled, "Labors of Love."  It will be sure to include, Cassoulet, Ratatouille, and Gumbo.  Dishes that generally take most the day, if not the whole.  I suggest putting on great music, invite friends over if you like, and it's guaranteed to be a day remembered with smiles.

Ingredients you will need:                                                             Makes about 6 quarts

-Stock(s)- 4quarts (64 oz/ 8 cups)
Packaged or made from scratch, with turkey or duck, or both.  I've used seafood stock in it as well.  When using poultry and seafood stocks, I use the ratio of 3 qts poultry + 1 qt of seafood.
If I make it, usually is left over from holiday birds, but I've used smoked turkey legs to make stock with great results. 
-3/4 cup of all purpose flour
-3/4 cup of canola oil - for the fat, I usually use duck fat instead of the canola oil.
-3 cups of chopped onions - 2 large sweet onions such as Vidalia
-2 large green peppers chopped
-4 stalks of celery chopped.
-2 large cans (~32 oz each) diced tomatoes
-2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
-1 pound of andouille sausage precooked, sliced to 1/3 inch thickness
-16 package of sliced frozen okra*
*For the okra, roast it in the oven at 325F for 30 minutes, prior to adding to the gumbo, to rid or decrease the "slimy factor". 
- 4 cups of chopped poultry; chicken, turkey, or duck.
-1lb of peeled and deveined medium shrimp
-1 lb canned crab
- Additional cayenne, Old Bay, file, Tabasco to taste at end.  I rarely add salt, due to smoked ingredients being used.

     There are 100's of recipes for Gumbo, due to what you want in it.  The roux, okra, and file powder are thickeners used.  Some recipes just call for 1 or 2, but to me you can't call it gumbo, without the roux, or without the okra.  File powder, I sprinkle on at the end, and since it comes from sassafrass, it gives the gumbo a nice ... fresh mowed grass quality- the scent, not the texture.

You will need a large 6+ quart pot.  
The roux is made up of equal parts of fat and flour.  The roux is cooked until it is the color of dark chocolate, about 45 minutes, over almost medium heat.   I have heard the phrase low and slow pertaining to cooking, and this is one of those times.  Not enough heat, and you'll be there forever and no flavor, and too much and it will burn.  Either one, not tasty.  Need to pay close attention and stir almost constantly.   Either have one person stirring roux, while you chop the veggies that go in next, or prep the veggies before you begin the roux.

The veggies are added next; "the trinity" -celery, onion, and green pepper, need to be coated in the roux and cooked on medium for about 10 minutes.   Next add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and the stocks.  I used turkey stock left over from Thanksgiving, and duck from Christmas, for this batch; both had lots of scraps from the respective birds.  I have also added to the poultry stock, seafood stock, if I have on hand.  Add to this the poultry, okra, and sausage.  Add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, remebering you can always add more later, but you can't take away.  The Andouille Sausage will lend a lot of spice to the gumbo, so again, go sparingly with the spice right now.

Bring this to boil, then simmer 1- 1 1/2 hours.

Then add seafood, and cook 15 more minutes, till shrimp are pink.

Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, Tabasco and file to taste.

Serve over hot rice.

Enjoy!  The gumbo can store up to 1 week in the fridge, or freeze leftovers.  Once the flavors get time to party- the gumbo only gets better with time.  I have even made the gumbo with all ingredients, except the SHRIMP.  Then as I removed from freezer, thaw and reheat, add shrimp, more poultry or ham, oysters, whatever (due to mood or availability) during the last 15 minutes or cooking for a guaranteed great quick meal.

Feel free to email me with any questions:  sadiesgathering@gmail.com

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