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  1. rascal

    Pork Confit

    I made up a batch of pork confit last week and everyone should take a stab at it... so easy and so delicious. I used grocery store lard in mine, so I'm confident that it can be even better once I can get my hands on some gen-u-wine pork fat. Pork Confit Bone-in country style spare ribs Kosher salt Pepper Lard Dredge the ribs in the salt and pepper and refridgerate for 24 hours. Place in oven-safe cookware and cover with melted lard. Make sure the meat is completely covered. Bake for 10-12 hours at 190F. Remove meat to a cool container and cover with melted lard (separate from exuded pork juices first). Refridgerate for a few days, or however long you'd like. I served these crisped up on the stovetop, with baby argula dressed in a sharp red wine vinaigrette, topped with carmelized onions. Just one of those dishes where everything comes together, the rich tenderness of the pork, the bitterness and acidity of the greens, the sweetness of the onions...
  2. I grew up eating Italian Sausages, usually home-made ones made by my Italian grandmother or her neighbor. These were wonderful sausages filled with fennel seeds, garlic and other spices and the ones my mom bought from the store tasted similar (though not quite as good! ) I just found Italian sausages for the first time in Japan and as I was looking through various cookbooks on ways to cook them I noticed they all specified sausages with out any spices added. Quite surprised I ran to my freezer to look at my sausages and sure enough no fennel seeds, no garlic, nothing! How can you make sausage without fennel seeds? Is this just some regional differences in Italian sausages? What happened to the fennel?
  3. I'm not easily alarmed, but I do know that the word "botulism" comes from the Latin for "sausage." So I'm looking at a sausage recipe (for an upcoming column, so I don't want to give away the whole story, but it contains rice) that calls for the stuffed links to be hung at room temperature for five days to give them a nice fermented tang. No curing salts are called for. How risky is this? Would curing salts make it safer? If so, would the curing salts change the flavor a lot? I'm looking for a lot of lactic acid production and not a lot of botulinum toxin production.
  4. Since I had a supply of duck and goose fat in the fridge, I confit'd up some lamb shanks the other day - now I'm unsure how to use them. I was thinking, possibly, serve it over crispy gnocchi, maybe with some caramalised butternut squash (a Tra Vigne dish I had, using Duck confit), but I'm not sure about what to use for a sauce. Plenty of chicken and veal glace in the freezer. Any suggestions?
  5. We had a chicken with chinese sausages and black mushrooms from "Staffmeals from Chanterelle" yesterday for dinner. As recommended by the book i bought sausages containing some duck liver. As i sliced them to put into a pan for cooking i tried one piece, and it really tasted funny, almost coconut-sweety, but i decided to proceed. The dish came out pretty well; chicken, mushrooms (i used fresh oysters) and braising liquid (contained oyster sauce, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger and scallions) were very tasty, but i still was not thrilled by those sausages. The dish is really worth trying again, but what's with sausages? Should i try some other brand? My store carries about ten of different kinds.
  6. I've always noticed this phenomenon when cooking bacon, but I always think of it at the wrong time to post. Now, the time has come. The fat streaks in bacon go through three distinct phases. Out of the fridge, they're white. After a few moments in the hot pan, they're translucent. By the time cooking is done, they're somewhere in between. The most interesting part of the process is the transition from translucent to crisp. The fat doesn't cook steadily. Suddenly there will be a hiss, and a section of it will turn nearly opaque. This was amazing to watch on some thin-sliced guanciale I was cooking the other day. Pop! You could watch the color change shoot along the strip of cured jowl. Stirring the bacon seems to accelerate the process. What in the world is going on here? It looks almost like a crystallization reaction. This is a very important question for physics, and I'd like to see our Einsteins on this thread soon. Thank you.
  7. offcentre

    duck confit

    as I'm in the posting frame of mind... I made duck confit the other night for a few friends. Unfortunately my car had been towed away by the fascist Brighton parking police the week before, so I had to buy frozen duck legs. Bought a bucketload of duck fat for the purpose too - which, incidentally, is now taking up half my bloody fridge and I refuse to throw away despite disgusted noises from the wife. (fabulous roast potatoes last night though from the bit at the bottom of the pan!) Anyway, it was far too salty and a big disappointment for all concerned, not least the cook. I had soaked (if thats the right term) the legs in salt for a day and a half in the fridge as Alastair told me to, to remove moisture. I am now presuming that I didn't give them a good enough rinse, but was a bit worried that running the damn things under the tap would negate any benefit done by the salt bath. Whats the trick here - a good scrubbing to get the salt off, or has the fact that they were frozen got anything to do with it?
  8. It is Saturday morning, 10am, I’ve got the top down on my rental convertible and am driving around trying to find a place to get some food to satisfy my hungover state. I don’t really get hungover but do suffer from what I call “fuzzy brain” or I’m just not Mr. Swift this morning due to many Guiness and Ciders the evening before. There are few food items better for a hangover than a greasy burger and fries. We never eat “American food” while on an international vacation, but I remember after a night of pitcher after pitcher of sangria in Madrid, my wife and I waking up to our systems CRAVING a greasy burger/fries. Thankfully the concierge in our hotel directed us to a spot nearby. I’ve got that same craving today. I’m at the intersection of Venice and Sepulveda debating if I should forgo the warming comforts of the sun on my face for soothing effects that the dark interior of my car would have on my eyes. I then spy Howard’s. The sign above the storefront proclaims "Howard's famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers" and “Famous” to boot?!!?, I’m there. Howard’s is a dive, probably has not changed much since 1971 when they opened. The same owners since ’71 are still there as well. I place my order off the menu board that has been updated simply by painting over old sections. One Bacon Avocado Burger and fries please. 5 minutes later I’m looking a wonderful looking burger, Big thick crisp bacon sliced poking out of some VERY VERY fresh produce and lots of avocado. It is a yummy burger for sure and I can feel the fuzzyness slowly slipping away. The overall verdict, I would not go out of my way for Howard’s, but if you are near the airport or on Sepulveda, Howard’s will sure satisfy. Howard’s Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers 11127 Venice Blvd at Sepulveda West Los Angeles, CA 310.838.9111 Open 10am – 8pm Mon-Sat, closed Sunday
  9. Moderator Note: These posts about Salumi were submitted almost at the same time, and I thought Mario would enjoy seeing all of them. Three weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to enjoy a Friday evening dinner at Salumi. It was wonderful! Click here for the full details. This week I also joined Armandino's "adopt a proscuitto" program. I can't wait to get that thing home next fall. Now that he's USDA certified, will you be carrying any of his products in your restaurants?
  10. JennyUptown

    Sausage

    How quickly does sausage go bad when refrigerated (not frozen)? I bought some Italian sausage at the grocery store on Friday. I used half of it that night and put the rest in tupperware. The refrigerator is on one of the coldest settings because it has been hot here in DC. Question: barring any bad smells, is it OK to use?
  11. I'd like to make duck confit for the first time, any tips are welcome!
  12. Where do I find really really thick disposable paper towels? Unless someone knows a better way to do this.... I cook bacon in the microwave. I put 7 double-ply paper towels on top and bottom of the bacon and sandwich it in between 2 plates and nooook it for 3 to 4.5 minutes depending on the bacon's thickness. The point of this is to get rid of as much fat as possible. I know, I know, what a waste, the taste leaves something to be desired, but it's ok (especially using gourmet brands) and healthy, or healthier than the alternative. But I spend almost as much on paper towels as I do on the bacon!
  13. Wilfrid

    Bacon

    One taste which does vary hugely between cultures is what kind of bacon to eat, how to cook it and how to eat it. I was raised in England on medium thick rashers of bacon, fried only until just cooked through and still tender, with just a slight crunch to the outer strip of fat, or rind. I am vague on the correct terminology (and I am sure others here can fill me in), but we rarely ate what we called "streaky bacon" - the thin rashers with several strips of fat. In the States, of course, this is the most popular kind - as far as I can see - cooked absolutely crisp. I have been instructed that the correct way to eat this is to drop your utensils and use your fingers. Thick cut, meaty bacon can be found in New York. The excellent butchers on the Ninth Avenue food strip always have it, as does the considerably pricier French Butcher on Third. In a desperate pinch, I have sometimes bought a chunk of pancetta and cut makeshift rashers myself. So, lots of options: meaty, fatty, soft or crisp, smoked or unsmoked. I am scratching the surface here. Do people have strong views - I am particularly interested to know if crisp-bacon-eaters find the tender stuff aversive? I prefer tender, but will eat both.
  14. Bean And Sausage Soup A very nice soup for a cold wintery day 1 onion chopped 2 tbspcanola oil 1 lbkielbasa sausage, diced 4 large garlic cloves, chopped (7) 1 bulb fennel; chopped 2 carrots; chopped 10 large Button mushrooms; chopped celery heart with leaves 1 small bag spinach leaves 900 ml box chicken broth water; plus 2 tbsp redi-base turkey stock 15 oz cans can navy beans 15 oz can can diced tomatoes with herbs 500ml ctner sour cream crushed red peppers; heaping bunch fresh dill; minced Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and garlic and sauté until sausage is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add in crushed peppers,fennel,onion, carrot, mushrooms and celery,;cook about 5 minutes more. Add broth, water, turkey stock navy beans with their juices and spinach. Simmer until flavors blend and soup thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill simmer 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. 10-3 cup servings approx Replacing the spinach with cabbage works well. could use more sour cream ( RG2000 )
  15. Chicken and Apple Sausages A little experimenting resulted in some tasty chicken sausages. 200 g chicken skin and fat 1 kg chicken meat (2 breasts and 6 or 7 thighs) 18 g kosher salt 2-1/2 g black pepper 2 g allspice (I added some more after a taste test - but didn't measure) 2 g onion powder 8 sage leaves (and added another 4 after taste test) 230 g Granny Smith Apple, peeled and diced (2 apples) ( RG1971 )
  16. Mezze Rigatoni con Pancetta i Cipolla Verde Serves 2 as Main Dishor 4 as Appetizer. This is a variation on Mamster's Pasta Bible Pasta. 1 pkg Mezze Rigatoni Pasta 1 bunch of scallions (green onion) 2 T butter 1/2 bunch of Italian (flat leaf) Parsley 2 beaten eggs 1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano cheese salt to taste pepper to taste 1/4 lb chopped pancetta Fill a stockpot with water and bring to boil. While pot is heating up, Cook and brown 1/4 lb of chopped Pancetta in the pan in its own juices for 5 minutes on medium heat, then add the chopped scallions and butter and cook for 12 minutes on low heat. Cook the pasta in boiling water (salted) for 8 minutes. Transfer contents of pan to a plastic or metal mixing bowl. Let cool until merely warm (5 minutes; the exact temperature isn't critical as long as it won't fry the eggs) and stir in the beaten eggs, a LOT of cracked pepper, parsley, and cheese. Toss with the pasta and then serve. Keywords: Appetizer, Dinner, Main Dish, Intermediate, Italian, Pasta, Pork ( RG170 )
  17. Fresh Breakfast Sausage 1 lb pork, boned 1 tsp pickling salt, non iodized 1/4 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp sage 1/8 tsp ginger 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp thyme 1/4 tsp paprika 2 fl oz water Grind pork through a 3/16" plate. Mix all other ingredients in bowl and then mix into ground meat. Chill in freezer for 30 min. Grind through 1/4" plate. If you just want bulk sausage, you can form into patties or just store in freezer bags, in freezer. If you are going to stuff..... Chill in freezer for 30 min. Stuff into sheep casings. This is no more difficult than it sounds if you know a few tricks. Just rinse about 3 feet of sheep casings in cold water and after finding the hole in one end, feed this onto the stuffing tube. Just keep sliding it on the tube until you reach the end. Tie a knot at the end and start stuffing. It is a lot easier with a helper to either keep the stuffer full or to do the stuffing. When the 3 ft casing is full, lay it out on a counter and smooth it out with the hands to a uniform thickness. About 3" from one end, pinch the casing and give the link a full twist. Pinch again about 3" from the first link and twist in the opposite direction. Continue in this manner to the end, always twisting the current link in the opposite direction from the previous. I always put the meat back into the freezer while linking just to keep it cold. Once the process is learned, you can stuff the whole batch and link them all at one time. Hang the stuffed sausage in a cool place to dry to the touch, approximately 30 minutes. Refrigerate or freeze immediately after drying. You now have your own home made sausage. All the fresh sausages are made in the same manner. Keywords: Pork ( RG406 )
  18. Sausage and Grapes Serves 4 as Appetizeror 2 as Main Dish. It's fun to watch the grapes turn into a sauce during the second half of roasting. Don't overdo it with the grapes -- if the sausages are completely immersed, they won't brown well and the grape juice won't reduce enough. The dish is best served with mashed potatoes (red potatoes, skin-on), but it also makes a good sandwich on French bread. This is not the sort of recipe that needs to be followed to the letter. You can double or triple it, or forego reducing the sauce. 4 Italian sausage links, hot or sweet (see note) 1/2 lb red seedless grapes 2 T butter 2 T balsamic vinegar salt and pepper Preheat the oven to 500 F. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Prick the sausages several times with a fork and add to the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes to remove some of the fat. While the sausages are simmering, remove the grapes from their stems, wash, and place in a bowl. Melt the butter and toss it with the grapes. Drain the sausages and arrange in a single layer in an 8"x8" pan. Pour the grapes over. Bake 25 minutes, turning the sausages after 15 minutes. Remove the sausages to a platter. Transfer the grapes and their juice to a skillet and reduce over high heat until syrupy. Off the heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour the grape sauce over the sausages and serve immediately. Note: There's no substitute for pork, but our local Whole Foods sells excellent-quality chicken sausages, and we often use them in this recipe, which lightens it a bit. Keywords: Appetizer, Italian, Main Dish, Dinner, Fruit, Pork, The Daily Gullet ( RG462 )
  19. Shrimp and Andouille Pasta Serves 6 as Main Dish. Like a lot of Cajun and quasi-Cajun dishes, this recipe has a lot of ingredients, but once you've done your mis en place (including the first four steps of the recipe itself), it goes together in a straightforward manner. Serve with crusty bread and a fruit salad in citrus dressing. 1 lb Shrimp (36-40), peeled (and deveined, if desired) (brining recommended) 8 oz Andouille sausage, sliced in 3/16-inch rounds 12 oz fettucini 1 c diced onion 1/2 c diced bell pepper (green is prettier, red tastes a little better) 1-1/2 c skinned, seeded and diced tomato (canned is fine) 2 c heavy cream 1/2 c unwooded dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc), or shrimp or chicken stock 1 T minced or pressed garlic 1/2 tsp ground cayenne 1/2 tsp ground white peper 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 3 tsp kosher salt, divided 1 c chopped green onions, divided 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp. dried 2 dried bay leaves, or 4-5 fresh 1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional) Pat the shrimp dry. Put on water for the pasta. Combine the cayenne, ground peppers, oregano, thyme, bay and one teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Divide the parmesan in half. If using lemon zest (highly recommended if you're using stock instead of wine), combine it with half the parmesan. In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, heating it through, in the oil. Remove to a medium-sized bowl. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Sear the shrimp, tossing or turning frequently until almost cooked through, about two minutes. Add to bowl with sausage. Add onions and bell pepper to pan. Saute until slightly caramelized, four to five minutes. More importantly, watch the fond -- when it's medium brown, add the garlic and half the spice mixture (be careful not to breathe directly over the pan). Stir briefly, until garlic aroma blooms, about 30 seconds. Add the wine. Deglaze the pan and cook the wine down to a syrup. If your pasta water isn't boiling by now, this is a good place to stop and wait. Remove the pan from the heat. When the water comes to a full boil, add the remaining two teaspoons of salt and the pasta. Give it a stir to keep it from sticking and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Add the cream to the pan (if you've stopped, turn the heat up to medium-high) and reduce by about 20%, or until you can draw a clean stripe through a coat of it on the back of a spoon. Turn the heat down to low. Add the sausage back to the sauce along with the tomatoes, the rest of the spice mixture, half the green onions, and the zestless half of the cheese. Heat through while waiting for the pasta to be done. Just before pasta is done, add the shrimp to the pan and stir them in. Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Turn to coat the pasta. To serve, ladle into bowls, topping with the lemon-parmesan and a sprinkling of green onions. Keywords: Main Dish, Intermediate, Shrimp, Pasta, Hot and Spicy, Pork ( RG785 )
  20. Shrimp and Andouille Pasta Serves 6 as Main Dish. Like a lot of Cajun and quasi-Cajun dishes, this recipe has a lot of ingredients, but once you've done your mis en place (including the first four steps of the recipe itself), it goes together in a straightforward manner. Serve with crusty bread and a fruit salad in citrus dressing. 1 lb Shrimp (36-40), peeled (and deveined, if desired) (brining recommended) 8 oz Andouille sausage, sliced in 3/16-inch rounds 12 oz fettucini 1 c diced onion 1/2 c diced bell pepper (green is prettier, red tastes a little better) 1-1/2 c skinned, seeded and diced tomato (canned is fine) 2 c heavy cream 1/2 c unwooded dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc), or shrimp or chicken stock 1 T minced or pressed garlic 1/2 tsp ground cayenne 1/2 tsp ground white peper 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 3 tsp kosher salt, divided 1 c chopped green onions, divided 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp. dried 2 dried bay leaves, or 4-5 fresh 1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional) Pat the shrimp dry. Put on water for the pasta. Combine the cayenne, ground peppers, oregano, thyme, bay and one teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Divide the parmesan in half. If using lemon zest (highly recommended if you're using stock instead of wine), combine it with half the parmesan. In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, heating it through, in the oil. Remove to a medium-sized bowl. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Sear the shrimp, tossing or turning frequently until almost cooked through, about two minutes. Add to bowl with sausage. Add onions and bell pepper to pan. Saute until slightly caramelized, four to five minutes. More importantly, watch the fond -- when it's medium brown, add the garlic and half the spice mixture (be careful not to breathe directly over the pan). Stir briefly, until garlic aroma blooms, about 30 seconds. Add the wine. Deglaze the pan and cook the wine down to a syrup. If your pasta water isn't boiling by now, this is a good place to stop and wait. Remove the pan from the heat. When the water comes to a full boil, add the remaining two teaspoons of salt and the pasta. Give it a stir to keep it from sticking and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Add the cream to the pan (if you've stopped, turn the heat up to medium-high) and reduce by about 20%, or until you can draw a clean stripe through a coat of it on the back of a spoon. Turn the heat down to low. Add the sausage back to the sauce along with the tomatoes, the rest of the spice mixture, half the green onions, and the zestless half of the cheese. Heat through while waiting for the pasta to be done. Just before pasta is done, add the shrimp to the pan and stir them in. Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Turn to coat the pasta. To serve, ladle into bowls, topping with the lemon-parmesan and a sprinkling of green onions. Keywords: Main Dish, Intermediate, Shrimp, Pasta, Hot and Spicy, Pork ( RG785 )
  21. Creamed Spinach with Bacon Serves 6 as Side. I first started making this after tasting a similar dish at Colonel Sander's original restaurant west of Shelbyville, KY. The Colonel and his wife used to stand in the yard of their home next door to the restaurant and greet diners there. The Colonel's menu included four entrees: fried chicken, steak, country ham and lobster. With these, he served mashed potatoes and gravy and SEVEN vegetables, passed family style. One such combination I had there was the creamed spinach, tomato pudding, mock oysters (eggplant), carrot souffle, corn pudding, green beans and Harvard beets. Instead of fresh spinach, you may use one 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, but it won't be as good. Sometimes I add the onion, sometimes not. 1 lb fresh young spinach 4 slices bacon 2 T butter 2 T flour 1/2 c milk 1/2 c heavy cream Salt and white pepper 1 T grated onion (optional) Wash the spinach, remove stems and drop in briefly into a large pot of salted boiling water over high heat. When it returns to a boil, drain in a sieve and let sit while you make the sauce. If you are using frozen spinach, let it come to room temperature, you don't need to cook it. Fry bacon crisp and drain on paper towels. Melt the butter in a 1 or 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. If you are using onion, add now. Add flour, cook and stir for several minutes to remove raw taste. Add milk and cream, salt and white pepper, and stir with a whisk until it boils. Lower heat. Crumble the bacon into very tiny pieces and add. Squeeze the spinach well, with hands or in a ricer or however you prefer, and add to the sauce. Leave over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. For best flavor, refrigerate overnight and reheat. Keywords: Side, Easy, Vegetables, American ( RG730 )
  22. Tomato, Eggplant and Italian Sausage Soup Serves 6 as Soupor 4 as Main Dish. This recipe is from the Cooking with/for Disabilities course in the eCGI. This is a nice garden soup anytime, great for end of the season harvest. It can be prepared in a crock pot or soup kettle. You can choose to make it a vegeterian meal by using the soy Italian sausage, and vegetable broth or stock. 3 links Italian Sausage (soy or meat) 1 T olive oil 1 large sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 sweet banana peppers, sliced in rings OR 1 red bell pepper julienne 3 c Ichiban eggplant, halved, sliced 1/4 inch 8 oz sliced mushrooms 2 bay leaves 2 c vegetable OR chicken stock 8 medium tomatoes OR 2 lbs canned, diced 2 T each fresh oregano and basil OR 2 tsp dried 1/4 tsp each salt and crushed red pepper or to taste 4 oz red wine 2 c or more water 1/2 c cooked pasta per serving; pick a nice shape Slice peppers and eggplant with pizza cutter, set aside. Slice onion with pizza cutter then lay out slices and roll cutter through again, across the layers, to dice. Set aside. Heat skillet over medium heat for a few minutes; spray with olive oil cooking spray. Brown the sausages in whole links until nicely deep golden. Remove sausages, add minced garlic, sliced peppers, and chopped onion, with more non-stick olive oil spray, or 1 T of olive oil. Stir to coat, then slice sausage. Using pizza cutter again, slice sausages in 1/4 inch rounds, return to skillet with onion mixture, add sliced eggplant and mushrooms. Stir and cook until onions and eggplant are slightly tender, about five minutes. Place all in your soup pot on medium heat. Add 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth and 2 cups water. Add tomatoes and 2 bay leaves. Cook just to a beginning boil, lower heat, add oregano and basil. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Soup can simmer on low for hours, and is a good choice for your crock pot; may need to replace 1 cup or so water. Add crushed red pepper and salt, adjust to your taste. Now add 6-8 ounces red wine. Let soup simmer on low heat, covered, for another 30 minutes or so. Shortly before you want to serve cook some interesting pasta, al dente; pick a shape, the pennes, rotinis, and small "horns" do well with this soup. 1/2 serving pasta per person (1/2 cup, cooked). Ladle the soup generously over pasta in the bowl. (The pasta is prettier, and will not lose its shape and if you keep it separate until serving soup.) Serve with fresh grated parmesan and or romano cheese, and garlic toast. A side salad is always nice. Keywords: Main Dish, Vegetables, Soup, Pasta, Dinner, Healthy Choices, Intermediate, Lunch, eGCI ( RG775 )
  23. Chicken & Sausage Gumbo We call this "South of I-10 Style" This is a very basic gumbo that I learned many years ago from a dear lady in LaPlace, Louisiana. She was quite an authority on gumbo and its many styles. She and her far-flung Louisiana family put a lot of energy into “discussion” of one style versus another. This dark and sultry style is a favorite for poultry and sausage of whatever type. We made up the term “South of I-10 Style” because she claims it is more prevalent the further south you go. Turkey is often the bird in question after Thanksgiving. Duck often shows up after a successful hunt. It is not a thick gumbo, due to the very dark roux losing some thickening power in the process, and the vegetables just about disappear. File is often offered at the table for addition to the diner’s liking. The recipe is a good starting point. Endless variations are possible. I have included some techniques that might help achieve that dark roux. 1 c vegetable oil (peanut or canola) 1 c flour 2 c chopped onion 1 c chopped celery 1 c chopped green bell pepper 1-1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste) 6 c chicken broth (hopefully homemade but Swanson brand will do) 1 lb smoked sausage (kielbasa or andouille) cut crosswise into 1/2" slices 2 tsp Cajun seasoning (your favorite brand will do) 1 lb chicken meat cut into 1” chunks (best to use thigh meat) 3 bay leaves Chopped green onion, parsley, and file for serving (optional) White rice for serving (NOT optional) About the pot: Don’t even start this unless you have a proper pot, that means heavy. Heavy cast iron is the classic. Enameled cast iron (like Le Creuset) is better because it is easier to judge the color of the roux. Heavy aluminum like Calphalon also works. First you chop your Trinity: Chop the onion, celery and peppers into relatively uniform ¼” chop. Season with the salt and cayenne and set aside… close to the stove. (You will see why in a minute.) Now you make a roux: Combine the oil and flour in your pot and stir together until there are no lumps. It should be liquid enough that it flows well as you stir. Add more oil if necessary. Turn the heat to medium high on a wimpy range or maybe medium on a better burner and start stirring. I recommend using a wooden spatula rather than a spoon as that tool does a better job of sweeping the bottom and corners of the pot. Oh, by the way, you can’t stop stirring so you best go pee before you start this. I call this a “2 beer roux” That means that you can drink 2 beers before it is ready. I find that it takes me about 30 to 40 minutes to get there, but then I have done this a lot. Better to go slow until you gain some experience. When the roux gets to the color of a Hershey Bar, you are ready to go. WARNING: The slightly reddish Hershey Bar color is very close to burning. If black flecks appear, you have burned it and blown it. Start over. Makin’ Gumbo: Dump the seasoned Trinity into the roux all at once and stir like crazy. That is why I told you to keep this by the stove. If you are getting close to burning the roux, this drops the temperature and keeps it from burning. There will be a lot of steamin’ and sputterin’ going on but this has a lot to do with the flavor development. The high heat hitting the vegetables and cayenne makes a flavor difference. Continue to stir and cook for about five minutes until the vegetables are wilted. Add the sausage and bay leaves, continue stirring and cooking for about five minutes. Slowly add the broth (it should be cool) stirring continuously to incorporate. Reduce heat and maintain a slow simmer for two hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, season the chicken meat with the Cajun seasoning. Add it to the pot and simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally. Excess oil may break out. Skim off if you wish. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary. Serving: Stir in chopped green onion and parsley and serve over white rice. File on the table for adding is optional. NOTE: You can use commercially available roux. (It is really quite good.) The trick will be to get it up to a high enough temperature to sear the trinity/cayenne mixture without burning it. I think making the roux yourself is more fun. It tests your intestinal fortitude… “How close can I get to burning before I dump in those vegetables?” You can double this recipe if your pot is big enough. I usually do because this is a bit of trouble and it freezes well. If you freeze leftovers, add the parsley and green onion only to the portions you serve. Parsley and green onion should always be added fresh. If you are using previously cooked bird, such as the leftovers from the Thanksgiving turkey, add the cooked turkey meat within the last half hour of the process. If you cook previously cooked meat in the gumbo too long it gets all broken up and stringy. It will still taste good. It is just ugly when that happens. Hopefully, you have made good stock with the bird bones. If it was smoked bird, remove most of the dark smoked skin before making the stock so the stock won't have too strong a smoke flavor. For a truly fascinating experience of gumbo cooking around the world, the Gumbo Ya Ya Cook-Off topic is not to be missed. Keywords: Main Dish, Intermediate, Chicken, Lunch, Dinner, American ( RG772 )
  24. Duck and Sausage Gumbo The original recipe, Gumbo with Herbs (read greens) came about after my trip to New Orleans in the late 60s. My boss had suggested we try the gumbo at Felix's Oyster Bar and I came home and tried to duplicate it to serve at my restaurant, Cherotree. We had boned about 16 ducks for a special Christmas dinner so had a lot of duck stock on hand. There wasn't quite enough left for another weekend (I served about 30 persons on Friday and Saturday by reservation, fixed menu)so I added a little more stock, some duck and sausage meat for this recipe, which was even better. It's still a big recipe, but freezes very well. I used spinach, turnip greens and mustard greens. Possibly kale or collards would work also. Roux 1 c duck fat 1-1/3 c all-purpose flour The trinity 1 c chopped onion 1 c chopped red or green peppers 1 c chopped celery Soup: 6 qt duck stock 3 lb canned tomatoes, pureed 4 10-ounce packages frozen greens, combination of your choice 1 10-ounce package frozen okra with tomatoes (or omit) Seasonings Red pepper flakes Hot pepper sauce Salt and black pepper Thyme 2 bay leaves Meat: 1 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage Meat of 1 duck For serving Hot cooked rice In a heavy stock pot, make a fairly dark roux of the fat and flour. I cook over a low heat for a long time, stirring occasionally, for about 1 ½ hours, but you can do it faster. Add the onion, peppers and celery, and stir and cook until they are soft. Add six quarts duck stock (all at once), tomatoes, greens and okra. Stir until it comes to a boil. Add seasonings and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Don’t overdo the seasonings, you will be correcting them later. Cool soup and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend. If you leave soup in the pot, use ice water in the sink to cool faster. Next day, bring soup to a boil. Cook Italian sausages, drain and dice. Add with duck meat to the soup. Let simmer until ready to use, then adjust seasonings. Thin with additional duck stock, if needed. Serve in soup plates with a scoop of rice in the center. Keywords: Main Dish, Soup, Intermediate, Duck ( RG872 )
  25. Chicken and Andouille Gumbo Actually, I prepare gumbo in 2 nights. The first night is shopping and making the roux and chicken stock. Many people have reduced the old-fashioned method for roux and can make a quick roux in about 10 or 15 minutes. It’s a fact – verified it with local cooking friends, but the traditional hour-long method works for me. Do it however you want. How dark depends on how dark you like it. A chocolate-brown roux IMHO is too dark and one that is peanut-butter colored (like an old copper penny) is preferred. See the ultimate Gumbo thread for some wonderful pictures on the stages of roux, the trinity, and finished products. Roux 1 c oil (typically use half bacon drippings and half peanut oil) 1-1/2 c flour Vegetable Seasonings (Don't chop them too small; large dice is fine.) 2 large yellow onions, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped (green bell peppers are traditionally used) 4 ribs celery, chopped garlic, if desired Other Ingredients 3 qt of rich chicken stock ??? (just add until it's your desired consistency) 2 bay leaves a few tablespoons kosher salt red and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste dried thyme to taste garlic powder and onion powder, or whatever other seasonings you want to add hot sauce Worcestershire sauce meat from 1 cooked chicken (remove skin and bones) – add it at the end so it’s not stringy 1/2 lb andouille sausage, cut into about 1/4" rounds and browned slowly in skillet on both sides 1/2 c of tasso, julienned, if desired 1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped 1 bunch green onion tops, chopped file' rice Bring a stool into the kitchen if you don’t want to be standing too long. Heat oil over medium heat and add flour slowly. Whisk mixture with a wire whisk (a flat-bottomed one works best) in a heavy skillet; cast iron is preferred. Keep whisking until bubbles subside, then switch to a flat-bottom wooden spatula. Reduce heat to low. It takes about an hour. Do not let the roux burn (if you quit stirring it will burn). If you burn it, just dispose of it and begin again. You CANNOT repair a burnt roux. Don’t answer the phone while you're cooking this and don’t leave the stove. Just stir. About the time you are ready to give up, it will start coloring. Just keep stirring constantly until the roux is the color desired, about the color of an old copper penny. Immediately add your vegetable seasonings. They will stop the browning process. Add bay leaves, too. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer roux mixture to a stock pot (needs to hold about 2-gallons) and place back on medium heat. Slowly add warm stock, stirring in and incorporating each ladle as you go. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Season well to taste using all of the spices, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Now, just simmer away for about an hour or so for the roux to develop. (Note: Even though it’s against the rules, I also add just a teaspoon or so of file’ at this point, as well as letting the diner add just a bit to his individual bowl after the gumbo is served.) After gumbo has cooked about an hour (you could probably go 30 to 45 minutes if you want), add your sausage and simmer about another half-hour. Skim oil from top, then add your chicken, parsley and onion tops during the last 5 minutes of simmering the gumbo. Serve over white rice. Let the guest add file (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) to his bowl when served, if desired. Also put the hot sauce on the table in case individuals want a little more heat. Serve with French bread or garlic bread. The traditional drink is beer. ---------------------- P.S. Gumbo tastes better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to come together. If you make it a day early, be sure to stir in the parsley and green onions just before serving. P.S.S. Lots of people add okra, and I like it added. However, if you’re cooking for a group of people and you don’t know preferences, I would just leave it out. If you do add it, add the frozen WHOLE okra (makes it easier for people to remove if they don’t like it) during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking. If you cook it too long, it starts to come apart, and a lot of people don’t like that. Keywords: Soup, Main Dish ( RG1198 )
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