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Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3

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#31 Bond Girl

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:10 PM

I'm iin for this one. I usually make the gimbo roux with bacon fat. While the roux is cooking, I chopped the vegetables (onion, garlic, celery and bell peppers and sometimes tomatoes). It usually worked out that by the time I finished chopping the vegetables, the roux is done. I scrape out the roux, drop in some canola oil and sweat the vegetables with some sausage. At this point, I add in some thyme and oregano and a large pinch of cayenne. Put in the tomatoes if I am using them and add the roux. Stir to mix the flavors and pour in the fisk stock. Then I let it cook for a few hours and when it's ready toss in the sea food, usually a combination of oysters, shrimp, and crab meat. It may not be authentic but it has won a lot of compliments.
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#32 fifi

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for posting that picture, Jason. My chicken and sausage gumbo looks like the Upperline version. I have been trying to find a link to a site I found a long time ago that has pictures of the various stages of roux. After about an hour of googling, I am afraid I am coming up nil. If anyone has any ideas, it would be a useful reference for this topic.
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#33 edsel

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for posting that picture, Jason. My chicken and sausage gumbo looks like the Upperline version. I have been trying to find a link to a site I found a long time ago that has pictures of the various stages of roux. After about an hour of googling, I am afraid I am coming up nil. If anyone has any ideas, it would be a useful reference for this topic.

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There's a picture sequence here referenced in a guide to Making a Roux. Do the colors look about right to you?

#34 fifi

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:34 PM

There's a picture sequence here referenced in a guide to Making a Roux. Do the colors look about right to you?

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We are getting there but I am not sure I would agree that the final picture is a true "blonde" roux. I call it "peanut butter" and is what I would use in a seafood gumbo for instance. To me, blonde is just slightly toasted and what I would use in a rather delicate etouffe. That is why I was looking for an example that would picture the entire range so we could all be on the same page. Also, the sequence doesn't go all the way to dark. The one I remember had five or more examples.
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#35 torakris

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:38 PM

well since everyone has already made it.... :angry:

you can help me! :laugh:

The most difficult part for me is the sausage, as they have nothing like that here in Japan, so I am thinking about making my own.
Fifi, you mentioned not to use fresh sausage, is there a reason behind that? If I made my own it would probably be fresh...
I was thinking about making the spicy Louisiana poultry sausage from Bruce Aidell's Complete Sausage Book because I have a 2kg block of thighs in my freezer and won't be able to make it to Costco in the next week or two to get a big block of pork....

Is there a traditional sausage for gumbo?

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#36 Dana

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 05:45 PM

The sausage really needs to be smoked, but you can make a fine gumbo without sausage of any kind. Plain chicken or chicken and shrimp or seafood are all delicious. The smoked sausage gives a deep smoky flavor, but is equally as good without it - just different.
There is a broad range of 'traditional' in cajun food. If your gumbo starts with a good stock, and you season it well, it will be awesome.

No one has mentioned that gumbo is even better the next day. All those flavors have a chance to marry.
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#37 Dim Sim

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 06:41 PM

Are you saying that you chickened out on the dark roux. :laugh: Actually that looks really pretty, especially with the red bell pepper. I like to use it when I don't have to give up a body part to get one.

edit to add: I forgot to add. I have an andouille warning. Richard Kilgore was taking a learning run using that recipe and I asked him to critique it. I had to add "smoked not fresh" to the andouille description. I would not have thought to do that because, by definition from all the sites that sell it, andouille is smoked sausage. However, some "high toned" grocery stores are apparantly selling something called andouille that is a fresh sausage. 

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hi I am glad someone started this gumbo thread,I live in Melbourne, Australia, Although I never been to Louisiana but I have been making gumbo for years. On the subject of sausages, the only type of andouille I know of and can get hold of is the fresh one made of chitterling or tripe and its texture is soft and loose, somehow that to me sounds very different from what I read, I never used it in my gumbo, my common sense tells me not to. what sausages I used offen depends on what the deli offers, I could never get the same sausages twice. Does anyone one know of a good substitute. What does the louisiana andouille taste like?
My gumbo recipe is a bit simular to Fifi's, But I carry my roux in much shorter time, and also darker, very very dark brown almost on the verge of turning black, I never find any problem of getting burnt. I just keep stirring and regulate the heat, I find that I can get there in 20 minutes (I used peaunt oil), the reason why I do this is because I find it give a better overall background flavour. I also add okra to my trinity (well, it is no longer trinity :wink:) and green pepper only no red, I find red impart a slight sweet and mellow taste that I find not agree with. I use a whole chicken simmers in court-bouillon for about 40 minutes, and I use the stock for my gumbo, and add the shredded chicken in the end of the whole cooking proccess, sometimes I boil a little bit of prawn shells and add a bit of this too( only a little bit, it is rather strong). I add tomatoes too.
I read somewhere that one can either use okra(in the beginning of the cooking proccess) or file powder( at the very end , to sprinkle on top), but never the 2 together, is that the case ?

#38 bloviatrix

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 06:45 PM

I'm in for this one. I found kosher andouille at Zabar's the other week. It's sitting in the freezer waiting to be used.
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#39 Dana

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 07:23 PM

The best word I can come up with to describe LA andouille is intense. It is highly seasoned with black and cayenne peppers, garlic and has a deep smoked flavor.
We seldom use file, although I do add okra fairly often. (I make a gumbo once a month at least). File cannot be heated, it then gives gumbo a ropey texture. File is on the table of any restaurant that serves gumbo in this part of TX and all of LA.
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#40 fifi

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 08:14 PM

When it comes to sausages, just about any smoked type will be good. Andouille is the typical in Louisiana and it is described here. Before it was readily available here, I just used whatever I could get my hands on. I made some over the holidays at my son's place in Chicago and we found some all beef that resembled andouille. He has Jewish friends that don't eat pork. I wouldn't go to the trouble to make sausage just to make gumbo. After all, gumbo is all about using what you have around to make something delicious. I have had some Asian sausages that I think would go quite well in a gumbo. Once you get past the roux and trinity business (and even the trinity can vary) just about anything goes. Think of it more as a technique than a "recipe." Some of the best I have had started with "I have this that and the other. Hey! That might make a good gumbo."

Dim Sim, you don't see file and okra together. In fact, I don't see much gumbo with okra in the restaurants in south Louisiana. If they do have it, they usually call it "Okra Gumbo." On the roux, if I had a decent burner I could probably get to that dark color sooner but your typical home stove here just doesn't have the BTUs. I have done it in 30 minutes at a friend's house where they had a "high capacity" burner but it still wasn't a 15,000 BTU one like you might have on a Viking or such.
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#41 snowangel

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:02 PM

OK, so torakris can't get smoked sausage. If she can get some sort of regular sausage and really smoky bacon, would that work?

When I make it, I will get the smoked country sausages from a local meat market. They are somewhat spicy, and nicely smoked. And, better than any andouille I can source easily.
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#42 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:15 PM

Can I play?

I had two kinds of gumbo tonight at a parade party on Napoleon Ave in New Orleans. It was a fun deal. The game was on a big screen tv set up on the porch of this really nice house on the avenue. So...we ate gumbo (seafood, and chicken and sausage), jambalaya, oysters rockefeller, oysters on the half, boiled shrimp-while we watched the game and then would turn around as the floats from The Krewe of Bacchus went by and catch valuable trinkets. All Superbowls should be held during parades. :wink:
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#43 patti

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:24 PM

Brooks, I'd perused your gumbo making photos sometime in the recent past, and I was compelled to race over to eBay and search for a drip drop baster roasting pan. I didn't find the exact one up for auction at the time, but I'm still looking (and halfway hoping I never find one, because I don't *need* one). I lust after your pot!
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#44 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:34 PM

Were I a betting man I would say that one was purchased in Cass County Texas sometime during Woodrow Wilson's term in office. While there are some around, and they aren't overly expensive, the oval ones are really hard to find. I love that pot.
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#45 fifi

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:52 PM

Oh goody. Brooks has come out to play. :laugh: Actually, I kinda figured he was too busy playing elsewhere. Bacchus, Superbowl and gumbo. Life is really hard.

Torakris . . . I would go with whatever sausage you can get. I just remembered some Asian sausages that I buy at the Asian grocery. They are cured to the point that they are not even refrigerated. That would be different but really good. Let's not get too hung up on trying to be "authentic." It is all good. Snowangel makes a good point. If you really crave the smoky component and you have something similar to bacon fat, you can add some of that to the roux, even if you have to supplement it with oil. Keep in mind that there are lots of gumbos that don't have a smoked anything in them. In fact, you have access to excellent seafood so you could just go that way and quit worrying about sausage.

Somebody needs to post a basic recipe for seafood gumbo. I don't have one since I don't do it that often.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#46 irodguy

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Posted 06 February 2005 - 09:59 PM

BTW, with the real Louisiana sausage in it, the only spices we added to it was the little bit of salt and cayenne we added to the Trinity, plus a shot of CAJUN POWER garlic hot sauce. The sausage imparted a lot of spicyness to the gumbo without any added Cajun seasoning.

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My favorite cajun hot sauce. They also make Garlic juice which is handy to throw in your gumbo.
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#47 lafcadio

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 04:37 AM

My favorite way to add okra to gumbo is:

1 to 2 cups sliced okra

approximately 2 tablespoons corn oil or rendered duck or sausage fat.


Toss okra with oil and spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Cook in slow oven (325 to 350) until the okra becomes slightly caramelized. Stir from time to time. Add to gumbo after broth is added. This additional process adds another layer of flavor and texture.

I am in London this week. Stopped in at the "Big Easy", a pub/restaurant on Kings Road to check out menu. No gumbo and no Mardi Gras party on the agenda. What a waste of a good name!

Great meal at Club Gascon on Saturday night. The amuse was a duo of shrimp. Chopped shrimp tartare?/seviche? on a spoon and a shot of spicy shrimp broth with foam. Intense flavors - possiblly the first paragragh of :cool: a deconconstructed gumbo?

#48 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 05:07 AM

Ah, so this is why Jason wanted me to make gumbo yesterday! I don't think we chickened out on the roux too bad. Looking at Brook's pics from his blog, we got it to a pretty dark red-brown. I suppose it could have gone another minute or so, but not much more than that. So let's see, what did we use...1/3 cup corn oil
1/3 cup flour
1 onion
2 stalks celery
1/2 a red bell pepper with some green still on it
3 Bay Leaves
salt & cayenne pepper
another T of flour - when you get a roux that dark there's no thickening power left in it, so I like to add a little bit more flour when I put in the veg, is this wrong?
1 link aligator & pork sausage (~3 oz)
1/2 andouille (8 oz)
1 link chourice (8 oz)
The aligator & pork was raw, so I took that out of the casing and browned it in a skillet, then added the other sausages, peeled and diced. After the meat was added to the veg (sweated 10 min), I deglazed the skillet with stock.
8 cups chicken stock
Simmer for 1+ hour.
Meat from 2 Chicken legs - picked after about 1 hour into stock making
~2 cups white rice
3 Green onions, sliced
Black pepper, didn't need any more salt
Simmer about 5 more minutes. Done. Eat some, put 6 servings in containers.
Fifi, yes, usually I would serve the rice on the side. But this seemed to be the best method for having it ready to eat from the freezer. We debated putting some rice on the bottom of the containers the ladling the gumbo on top, but figured that would just get all mixed up anyway. I'm thinking of putting a bit of file into little condiment containers in his lunch bag, but adding the rice already thickened it up quite a bit (it was very liquid before the rice, even with the extra flour).

#49 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 06:40 AM

At this point, I add in some thyme and oregano and a large pinch of cayenne.

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Yeah, I add thyme, too -- does anyone else? Or are we just utterly inauthentic??
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#50 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 06:53 AM

My favorite way to add okra to gumbo is:

1 to 2 cups sliced okra

approximately 2 tablespoons corn oil or rendered duck or sausage fat.
 
Toss okra with oil and spread in a single layer on baking sheet.  Cook in slow oven (325 to 350) until the okra becomes slightly caramelized.  Stir from time to time.  Add to gumbo after broth is added.  This additional process adds another layer of flavor and texture.

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I do a similar thing: toss the sliced okra in corn flour, corn meal, white flour, that sort of thing, salt and pepper and cayenne, and then fry it in a good bit of oil to brown it and crunch it up. They're great tossed on top and mixed in for texture, as you say.
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#51 Dana

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 08:10 AM

I always season with thyme, as well as a little oregano, poultry seasoning and cayenne, black pepper and some dried parsley. Fresh parsley goes on the top.
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#52 Eden

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 09:42 AM

No problem with corn oil. I should probably modify the recipe to say "neutral oil, not olive oil" or, even better, fresh lard. I have been known to use bacon grease as well. It adds a different note.

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so would a mix of rendered duck & pork fat that happened to be lying around after cassoulet :biggrin: work well, or would the ducky flavor be wrong?

I have never had gumbo. The only places I ever saw it growing up included seafood (which I can't have) so I assumed that fishy-bits were integral to the dish and I never re-visited the possibility till now.

I'm really looking forward to exploring something new here, but my complete lack of gumbo experience means I don't have a sense of what I can & can't substitute flavor wise so I'm really appreciating all the tips & comments.

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#53 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 10:10 AM

No problem with corn oil. I should probably modify the recipe to say "neutral oil, not olive oil" or, even better, fresh lard. I have been known to use bacon grease as well. It adds a different note.

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so would a mix of rendered duck & pork fat that happened to be lying around after cassoulet :biggrin: work well, or would the ducky flavor be wrong?

I
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You should use oil.

You should send all of that pesky duck and pork fat to me.

Of course you can use the rendered stuff. It'll only make it mo' betta.
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#54 Rehovot

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 11:01 AM

About the pot:Don’t even start this unless you have a proper pot, that means heavy.

Well, my pot is heavy because I have to haul it off the top shelf of the cupboard..... :biggrin: (Ok, it's on the thin side, but it's survived so far.)

Don't know about procuring sausages, but it'll be a good challenge. I'm in!

Edited to defend said pot.

Edited by Rehovot, 07 February 2005 - 11:02 AM.


#55 FistFullaRoux

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 11:28 AM

Mais, what the hell have I been doing to miss this one...

Please note that my gumbo skills were aquired in Vermilion Parish, there may be some differences.

Regarding smoked vs fresh sausage - Smoked will give you a better flavored broth, but I've found that with birds other than chicken (duck, dove, quail, etc) that smoked overpowers the bird too much. A nicely spiced fresh sausage is not a bad option, as long as it is a basic sausage. Not breakfast sausage, no fruit, no rice, just pork (or your choice of meat), fat, seasonings like scallions, cayenne, and a proper amount of salt.

Fifi is right about the types of roux. For a real dark roux (perfect for chicken and sausage), The Hershey bar comparison is close, but I go a hair darker. Think mahogany. Drop a bit on a white plate if you are concerned about the color. For most people, the medium to dark range is going to be fine for starters. It works for nearly all meats. Starting with the dark is not really for the faint of heart. It will smoke up the kitchen with a smell that will linger (your choice if it's good or bad), and it's almost impossible to reheat.

With experience, you can reach the upper levels of rouxdom. Just start off slow. The higher the heat, the quicker it will be done, but it's very easy to overshoot your target that way. Don't even pay attention to the clock. It has no real bearing on what is happening in the pan.

I just realizing I haven't made a gumbo in over a month. I've been in Birmingham too long. I'm slipping... I may have to get in on this.

Edited by FistFullaRoux, 07 February 2005 - 11:29 AM.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.

#56 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 11:53 AM

I just realizing I haven't made a gumbo in over a month. I've been in Birmingham too long. I'm slipping... I may have to get in on this.

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#57 fifi

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 12:53 PM

FistFullaRoux's roux recommendations are right on. And, as to the characteristics of Vermillion Parish Style, please elaborate. One of the fascinating characteristics of gumbo is the regional (and micro-regional) differences. I would hope that we can explore that here. They are all good, all "authentic" and certainly none of them are wrong. If you know the regionality of your recipe, please share.

Another note . . . I often add thyme, maybe oregano. It depends on my mood and what I have hauled out of the fridge to make gumbo. I actually only make that basic recipe once or twice a year when the kids are here and they have fits if I vary. ("And, mom, DON"T **** with the recipe!") Otherwise, anything goes, including the roux.
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#58 NulloModo

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 01:07 PM

Hmmm, I've been making my gumbo roux-less as of late, but I have come upon some flour subs that might work out very well flavor and texture wise, so I will have to check those out.

My local safeway was having a clearance on Italian Sausage (Hatfield's brand) and I picked up around 10 lbs of it at around $1 a lb, so, I wonder how that might work in gumbo... I also have some frozen squid rings I need to use, I could toss them in too, and maybe give it some extra tomato kick for an Italian style gumbo.
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#59 My Confusing Horoscope

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 01:34 PM

I am from FistFullofRoux's neck of the woods (Vermilion parish) so I am curious to see how y'all make okra gumbo.

I live in Maryland now so the okra I can grow in my garden is like the okra you can buy in the markets here, i.e. about 3-4 inches long.

But when we used to garden in Vermilion parish, they used to be double that length! When I first saw small okra in a Maryland market, I asked the man, "No no, Where's your real okra?" He didn't believe me when I raised my hands to show him how big they should be.

Anyway, we used to chop the okra and mix it with green peppers and onions, salt and pepper and simmer it down in vegetable oil for about two hours, until all the gooeyness was gone and the okra was a fairly brown color. The smell of a happy home! Then add canned tomatoes and simmer for a while. And it was never the cast iron pot. Turns out later I learned you shouldn't use cast iron pots with tomatoes. (This would freeze well if you wanted to make gumbo later).

To this you would add your water or stock until you had the thickness you like. Then add shrimp tails, seasoned, and give it a few more minutes.

I see Prudhomme's family cookbook has a recipe that calls for fried chicken okra gumbo, and it's good too!

If you are in Cajun land, stop at a market for home grown okra. Everything's big in Cajun land (or is that Texas). :rolleyes:
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#60 highchef

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 01:38 PM

I MUST get in on this one. for novices, a couple of pointers. Take up the offer of the jar roux if you have young children. You cannot break up a fight or wipe up blood when you are in the middle of a roux. When I burnt the 3rd one in a row (slow learner) I caved in a bought a jar. I don't usually admit that. I'm usually such a purist. I still keep a jar handy if I'm the only adult around! The differences to me, seem to be thus: tomatoes are ok above I-10, the roux gets darker the further south you live and okra starts disappearing as a main ingredient the closer you get to Texas. File is not optional below the interstate. I have never seen fish in a seafood gumbo, but have seen sausage. I admit that bothers me. Seafood gumbos cost me a fortune to make because I only use off the truck gulf shrimp and lump crabmeat and/or cracked claws. I don't put crawfish in gumbo because, well, crawfish taste so much better in a lighter sauce and since I live in sw LA, I make a dark roux. I do put garlic in though....I thought everyone did.





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