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Gumbo is one of those dishes in the south that your momma makes better than anybody else’s momma, no matter what. Then you get a little older, start making your own version of your momma’s and as the years pass, the tradition is passed from generation to generation. Some people include okra, some don’t. Some people SWEAR you have to have filé powder, but my momma’s never used it in her life. It’s the first taste in your mouth when the weather starts getting chilly, and it’s best right out of the pot or warmed up the next day. Gumbo is one of those dishes you make in the morning and let sit all day long while the ingredients marry and blend. There are two styles of gumbo: Cajun and Creole. Creole heavily uses tomatoes and filé powder, and Cajun does not, but in general, especially as time passes, the two are beginning to merge. Gumbo is always, though, the above five ingredients served over rice with variations in each component. The following recipe is Katie’s. It’s basically Cajun, but with okra and a small amount of tomatoes added. She’s allowed the roux to get darker over time and this last time used two different types of sausage.
|2 medium onions (vidalia or yellow) – diced||heavy skillet (cast-iron preferred)|
|1 green bell pepper – diced||8 qt gumbo pot or heavy stock pot|
|5 stalks celery – diced||paper bag/paper towels|
|about 25 pieces fresh or frozen okra|
|1 can diced tomatoes|
|1 cup vegetable oil|
|1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour|
|1 4lb chicken|
|2 links of andouille sausage|
|2 links of smoked sausage with green onions|
|15-16 cups of chicken stock (if you decide not to make your own)|
|2 tbsp cajun seasoning plus extra seasoning to taste|
|pinch of filé powder|
|1 serving of rice/person|
Serves 10-15 people, but left-overs are in order!
Part 1: Prep.
Remove innards from the chicken and give er a good wash. Fill a 8 quart stock pot with 4 quarts of water and plop in chicken. Bring to a boil for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the leg easily pulls off. Remove chicken from water and once it’s cool enough to handle, pull off all the chicken meat. Set aside. Put chicken bones back into the pot and boil for another 30 minutes to create the chicken stock while you start chopping your veg. Strain stock and set aside.
Dice onion, celery, and green bell pepper all to a small dice. One you get good at determining how much veg you want in your personal gumbo, you can vary the amount, but almost everyone agrees the proportions of onion to bell and celery are as pictured above.
Chop the ends off of the okra and slice into rounds.
Part 2: Roux.
See previous post for in-depth instructions on the art of making a roux. Allow to darken significantly… basically till your palms are sweating, you’re so nervous.
Part 3: Go Time.
Once your roux is the color of dark chocolate and in a large enough pot to hold the entire contents of the gumbo, add the veg to the roux and stir until completely combined. Let the veg soften for three minutes over medium-low heat. Season to taste here with 2 tbsp of your choice of cajun seasoning. Katie uses Zatarain’s.
Pour in one cup of chicken stock, allow to come to a boil, REPEAT until the last of the chicken stock comes to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat and cover.
Slice sausage length-wise and cut into half moons about 1/4 inch thick. Get your skillet nice and hot and blacken the sausage over high heat till crispy-crunchy. Throw down a paper bag and then a paper towel. Dump the sausage onto the towel and de-grease slightly by blotting with another paper towel. Eat a couple pieces (you really won’t be able to stop yourself) and throw into your gumbo. Note: Tip: If you’re trying to find which sausages you like, chop each sausage into a different shape (slice into rounds or chop into squares) so that when you’re eating it, you remember!Roughly chop whatever chicken you haven’t snacked on and toss into the pot as well.
Once again, heat the skillet to medium-high. Saute the okra and tomatoes with 2 tbsp cajun seasoning for 5-10 minutes or until the okra doesn’t look slimy anymore. Throw into gumbo as well.
At this point, you have a gumbo. But really, you should do alllll of this before noon and let it sit all day. The longer you wait, the better it is. Season to taste with more cajun seasoning, or sometimes it just needs a little salt or cayenne without the rest of the spices. Thickness is another very personal subject when it comes to gumbo. I personally prefer somewhere in the middle of thick thick and thin, but you can add in more stock to thin it out or simmer with the lid off to thicken it up. Once you’re ready to do this thang, cook up the rice and serve the gumbo on top with a pinch of filé.
Please please let us know what you think, how it goes and if you have any questions!
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/>Last week I posted about presenting the world’s best at-home Al Pastor recipe. As I tried said recipe (for the first time), let’s just say, I’ve gots some learnin to do. The marinade didn’t marinate, even over 24 hours! And my replacement-spit efforts ended up lacking in the delicious crunchiness arena. Oopsies! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a tasty little thing, but no where near how perfect is needs to be. So, in lieu of a sub-par recipe post, I’ve decided to post the links from which I derived my efforts (all of which I am sure are pretty amazing). My hopes are that we all try them, comment on them, and in a month or so, I’ll try my hand at the perfect combination. See the following links or send in your own recipes to be part of the magic!
1. Authentic Mexican Recipes
3. Mexican Food and More
4. Food and Wine
Spit Replacement Methods:
When it comes to the crunch-maker, two of the methods are tried involved sticking the meat in a bit of beef broth to cook in the oven. One had pineapple on top and the other did not. It definitely benefited from the presence of pineapple, but either way, the meat was tough and not as flavorful as I’d like.
So if you get tired of sitting on the sofa and playing games on your ipad over the holidays, try some of these recipes out and let me know how it goes!