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Susan in FL

Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee, Creole...

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Here's a northerer with a question for all of you experts:

What is the general consensu on gumbo file powder? Do you use it? Is it a sin?

We sell it at the store I work at and was wondering if it has a purpose in authentic gumbo.

Shannon

I occasionally add it at the table, if I got lazy with the roux, or if I was reduced to using frozen okra, and I want to thicken my gumbo up a bit. I never add it to the pot, because I'm the ony one in my family who likes it.

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Here's a trick I've tried with my jambalaya. If I can't find tasso (and I live in the Chicago subrubs, so it ain't easy to find tasso) I use some thik-sliced cappicola as a substitute. It works remarkably well.

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Hi. I am a Cajun living in Maryland.

My alma mater is University of Louisiana-Lafayette. It used to be University of Southwestern Louisiana (Give 'em hell, USL!). The alumni chapter in the Baltimore Washington area has an annual gumbo cooking contest. You see some really wild, inventive stuff at these affairs!

One year I worked up the courage to enter a specialty from my neck of the wood in Vermilion parish: shrimp and egg gumbo! It's a very dark gumbo with small shrimp (we've even used dried shrimp, which I can't seem to find in Maryland) and boiled eggs halved.

I got a lot of questions for my fellow ex-patriates and remarks that they had never seen or heard of it before. Til one friendly fellow approached me with "Where you from, cher?" "Leroy, et toi?" "Mais, Gueydan!" He knew the recipe very well, you see, being from a neighboring town in my parish.

I appreciated leleux's post recommending the okra gumbo at Don's in Lafayette. I will have to try it! In my neighborhood okra and shrimp gumbo was the ONLY gumbo we made that did not have roux. But we sure don't consider it soup. It's gumbo by definition since the word gumbo is synonymous with okra.

I started a thread on favorite seafood gumbos in the Lafayette area in the Louisiana forum. Check it out!

Since living in Maryland for the past years I have had to experiment with my ingredients without straying too too far from the tradition. My wife and I now love kielbasa sausage in our chicken and sausage gumbo, even better than with Louisiana smoked sausage! Careful, though, it is salty so you have to be careful how you season the gumbo itself.


Edited by My Confusing Horoscope (log)

Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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A gumbo without roux would be, well, soup.  :wink:  :laugh:  Good soup, but soup nonetheless.

What about Gumbo Z'herbes/Zap/Zab then? Many, but not all of the recipes for them don't have roux in them. Certainly, the one we had at Lagniappe Too in New Iberia did not.

However, this one calls for it:

http://www.gumbopages.com/food/soups/gumboz.html

Emeril's, on the other hand, does not, but calls for File Powder:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe...-PAGE%2C00.html

HOWEVER, The Tabasco company does call for it:

http://www.tabasco.com/taste_tent/recipes/...e=Gumbo_Zherbes

as does Tom Fitzmorris's

http://www.labellecuisine.com/Features/Gumbo%20Galaxy.htm

and the Culinary Institute of New Orleans

http://www.ci-no.com/recipes/gumboz.html


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I have a friend from the Houma area. He introduced me to the local tradition of bringing the gumbo to a fast simmer and poaching eggs in it. I think the way it is served is that a scoop of rice is put in the bowl, the poached egg put on top of that, then the gumbo is ladled around it.

I had not heard of the boiled eggs. How is that done?


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I have a friend from the Houma area. He introduced me to the local tradition of bringing the gumbo to a fast simmer and poaching eggs in it. I think the way it is served is that a scoop of rice is put in the bowl, the poached egg put on top of that, then the gumbo is ladled around it.

I had not heard of the boiled eggs. How is that done?

I had not heard of using poached eggs but it sounds interesting!

We just boil them on the side, cut them in half, and put them in the gumbo for the last few minutes. Longer than that would make them rubbery or make the yolk separate from the white.

Folks in Acadia parish, I understand, make shrimp and egg stew instead. Same basic method but with less stock or water.


Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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A gumbo without roux would be, well, soup.  :wink:  :laugh:  Good soup, but soup nonetheless.

What about Gumbo Z'herbes/Zap/Zab then? Many, but not all of the recipes for them don't have roux in them. Certainly, the one we had at Lagniappe Too in New Iberia did not.

I suppose that I consider the use of the word gumbo in Gumbo Z'herbes as an unfortunate hijacking of the word gumbo to describe a dish that isn't really related.

fifi's theory of how this happened: Boudreaux was having a bad week. His trot lines were empty. Someone stole his crawfish traps. He couldn't hit a duck to save himself. And that alligator he ran across the other day was just too damn big. He gets home and finds that some varmint has raided the chicken house. What to do... His brothers would be at the fishing camp the next day expecting a big pot of gumbo. All he has is some greens growing in the garden. When they arrived they said... "What are you trying to pull, Boudreaux? You promised us a pot of gumbo. All you got here is a pot of greens." Boudreaux, silver tongued devil that he is, replies, "Mais non. This is the latest delicacy being served in the finest restaurants. It is called Gumbo Z'herbes. When Boudreaux promises gumbo he gives you gumbo." And, gentle readers, that is how a pot of greens (allbeit a very good pot of greens) came to be called Gumbo Z'herbes. :laugh: Hell, it might even be true. :raz:

Now we need for Brooks to check in with his theory of how the African word for okra was hijacked to mean the delicious dish that, as often as not, doesn't have okra.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Boudreaux and Comeaux Jokes have been around for a long time-

The sheriff drives up to Boudreaux's trailer one afternoon. Boudreux is in the middle of having a wake for his wife, who dissappeared in the bayou a few days before.

The sheriff calls Boudreaux aside and says" Man, I got some good news for you and some bad news. Which one you want first?"

Boudreaux thinks about it and says, "Give me the bad news, I can take it, me."

"Well" says the sheriff, "We found you're wife in Bonne Idee Bayou"

Boudreaux is pretty upset by the news and shows it by saying, "That's bad. What can the good news be after you tell me that my wife is dead at the bottom of the Bayou?"

The Sheriff, putting on his happiest voice and trying to cheer up his friend replies, " The good news is she had a whole bunch of big crabs on her and if she has that many the next time we pull her up we can have a big crab boil tonight!"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, as for the roux thing- I make Gumbo Z'Herbe a couple of times a month in the winter and the one I make calls for a roux. Jason's right though, there seems to be a division of flour users and non flour fryers- I am a flour man. Blond roux is what I use and I like the way that it thickens the stuff. I use butter in this one instead of oil.

As far as File goes, I would reccomend as highly as I can that you try to get some of the real thing from this guy. It's the best and worth the trouble. If you are in New Orleans and go to the Crescent City Farmers Market

I use filet in seafood and fish based gumbos, but not in poultry ones or ones with sausage or both. It is always a condiment, and never an ingredient in my stuff.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Tomorrow I'll be making jambalya to take to work. Here's my method. Is any one elses' much different?

Brown 2 lbs hamburger in large dutch oven (I use a LC) till brown bits stick to the bottom of the pan. - really nice and crispy. Remove meat, remove excess fat, but not all of it. Add 1 stick of butter, a couple of onions, 3-4 stalks of celery, 1 green bell pepper and a red one it I have it, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a bunch of green onion. Let that sweat, and add 1 lb of beef sausage links and cook till fat is rendered. Stir in about 2 cups of rice, and a total of 4 cups of beef stock/water, 2 T. cajun seasoning, 2T worstershire, and 2T soy sauce and some parsley. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Put the lid on tightly and let simmer 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serves about 12.


Stop Family Violence

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I have made Etouffee in the past, but I used a roux. From all of the recipes I found, that apparently is not the traditional approach for etouffee. Does anyone know if there is a correct term for what is essentially a traditional etouffee recipe but is started with a roux?


Edited by sweintraub (log)

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I have made Etouffee in the past, but I used a roux.  From all of the recipes I found, that apparently is not the traditional approach for etouffee.  Does anyone know if there is a correct term for what is essentially a traditional etouffee recipe but is started with a roux?

Y'all may disagree with me but if it uses roux and is thick, I would call it a stew. Nothing wrong with that!

I've had good dinners both with roux and without. I probably like it better without so that nothing's covering over the great taste of the crawfish and the crawfish fat.

Here's a good recipe our family got from a Mrs. Melancon in Breaux Bridge (home of the Crawfish Festival) about 30 years ago:

Two pounds Louisiana crawfish tails with fat, seasoned and put on the side

one large onion

one medium bell pepper

celery in the same proportion as the bell pepper

onion tops

parsley

stick of butter

melt butter and saute your onion/bell pepper/celery until the onion is clear

add one to one and a half cup of cold water

add seasoned crawfish tails

bring to a boil

turn to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes covered, stirring occasionally

add onion tops and parsley

add a little bit of corn starch dissolved in water to thicken to desired consistency

simmer another ten minutes then serve over rice

A good side dish is cold deviled eggs.

This recipe won't cover up the crawfish flavor. You will get a terrific aroma when you do your occasional stirring!


Edited by My Confusing Horoscope (log)

Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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I do know that the local shrimp we buy, whether or not it was frozen on the boat, or IFF at some point, are way better than the previously frozen shrimp I previously -- :laugh: -- ate, in my pre-Floridian days.  The contrast is striking.

I wonder if it makes a difference where they're from.  Our guy at the seafood market gets them from the small shrimp boats I see out on the ocean when I'm taking my morning walks on the beach.  Is all the poundage you're talking about Gulf shrimp?

We get all kinds of "Florida" shrimp here in Florida. E.g., here where I live - we get fresh "Mayport" shrimp (Mayport is in Jacksonville - and the shrimp boats aren't that big). But our "Key West pinks" are flash frozen. In Miami - my brother can get Key West pinks fresh. And he doesn't get Mayport shrimp at all. These are the 2 kinds of shrimp I use 90% of the time - but there are others from Florida - and other places - in our stores.

I find that Publix is scrupulous about labeling its seafood prominently in terms of place of origin - farmed or wild - fresh or previously frozen (Fresh Market and Harris Teeter are good too). Some of our local seafood markets aren't so scrupulous. So I pretty much stick to Publix - Fresh Market and Harris Teeter. Robyn

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Since living in Maryland for the past years I have had to experiment with my ingredients without straying too too far from the tradition. My wife and I now love kielbasa sausage in our chicken and sausage gumbo, even better than with Louisiana smoked sausage! Careful, though, it is salty so you have to be careful how you season the gumbo itself.

I use Sausages by Amy Andouille Chicken Sausage in a lot of dishes. I use it because it's relatively low in salt - fat and calories - and it tastes good too. Means I can eat sausage more than once a year :smile: . I buy it at Costco (you probably have a Costco up in your neck of the woods). Robyn

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I use Sausages by Amy Andouille Chicken Sausage in a lot of dishes. I use it because it's relatively low in salt - fat and calories - and it tastes good too. Means I can eat sausage more than once a year :smile: . I buy it at Costco (you probably have a Costco up in your neck of the woods). Robyn

Thanks! I am just starting to see these sausages in our local grocery store. Think I will give them a try. How are they for grilling? I like grilled sausages as an appetizer when I barbecue.


Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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I use Sausages by Amy Andouille Chicken Sausage in a lot of dishes.  I use it because it's relatively low in salt - fat and calories - and it tastes good too.  Means I can eat sausage more than once a year  :smile: .  I buy it at Costco (you probably have a Costco up in your neck of the woods).  Robyn

Thanks! I am just starting to see these sausages in our local grocery store. Think I will give them a try. How are they for grilling? I like grilled sausages as an appetizer when I barbecue.

I've never grilled them. They're basically "heat and eat" - not a lot of fat - so I suspect the primary purpose of putting them on the grill would be to get grill marks :smile: . On the other hand - that would make them look authentic - so grill away :wink: . Robyn

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I've never seen crawfish in Gumbo, and I really don't know why - maybe MM or fifi know??? They'd be too messy to eat if you put them whole - worse than crabs. I guess you could add a package in your Gumbo along with the oysters...? To me, crawfish are best left for boils, or in etouffee. There really is nothing better than crawfish etouffee. The crawfish fat adds so much flavor. I can't wait till MM posts his etouffee recipe!!!

I'm looking forward to MM's etouffee recipe, too, Dana. Do you have a favorite crawfish or shrimp etouffee recipe?

I'm not ready to make Brooksie's Seafood Gumbo yet. I'm waiting for some time after the 4th of July, to have company for that dinner. But I am seriously considering the duck gumbo soon, since we have the stock on hand, and I want to do some practicing on etouffee after I pick a recipe.

This thread is a great help, and inspiration.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Welcome to eG and to this discussion, Leleux and My Confusing Horoscope!

Leleus, I like your idea about using the shrimp shells to make stock for the gumbo. And I like the idea of eggs, either hard-boiled or poached, or a side dish of deviled eggs. Sounds good!

I find that Publix is scrupulous about labeling its seafood prominently in terms of place of origin - farmed or wild - fresh or previously frozen (Fresh Market and Harris Teeter are good too). Some of our local seafood markets aren't so scrupulous. So I pretty much stick to Publix - Fresh Market and Harris Teeter. Robyn
I agree about Publix, and trust what I buy from them to be what they say. Unfortunately we do not have Fresh Market or Harris Teeter nearby... :sad: I love those stores.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Here's my crawfish etoufee recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup flour

Mix flour and oil in large skillet over med heat to make a roux. Once the roux is formed, turn heat to low and cook about 40 minutes, until the roux is a peanut butter color.

Then add:

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped med. fine

1 large greem bell pepper, chopped med. fine

3 stalks celery, sliced fine

1 good handful parsley, chopped fine

2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped

one bay leaf

Sweat about 20 minutes over med-low heat, until onions are translucent and the flavors blend well. This also allows any remaining floury taste to cook out of the roux.

Add the following:

1 bottle clam juice or 20 oz. shrimp, fish, or crawfish stock

1 cup white wine

Frank's Red Hot Sauce to taste*

Simmer about 30 minutes, until the etoufee has the right consistency. You may want to let it go longer if it's too thin or add some more wine if it needs thinning.

Add:

2lbs crawfish tails

Turn heat to med-high, stirring fairly regularly, about 15 minutes until crawfish is heated through.

Serve over long-grain white rice and garnish with chopped parsley and more Frank's Red Hot Sauce.*

* You may substitute your favorite hot sauce. I like Frank's because it has as much of a vinegar note as it has heat. My personal feeling is that if your hot sauce is too firey, it drowns out the other more subtle flavors.

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Here's my crawfish etoufee recipe.

:smile: Thank you much!


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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THe onlyu holdup on my input to recipe gullet is my expoding computer situation. Hopefully I will have some kind of remedy in place by tongight and I can begin posting frim home.

It looks kind of bad to input recipes at work (although I am writing a book review for the paper now and that looks pretty bad as well :wink::laugh: )


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Susan - I've made Paul Prudhomme's crawfish etouffee and was pleased with the results, and another from Jude Theriot from Lake Charles, LA, that wasn't as good - Chef Paul's is roux based, and much deeper flavored than the other one that does not contain as dark a roux.(Theriot's is really blond - cooked for 2 min) We are lucky enough to have a Pappadeaux's Restaurant here in town, and they have awesome etouffee, which has a fairly dark roux. (when we get the etouffee urge, we usually just go there :wink: )

mark922's sounds very good, I might have to give it a try this weekend. The peanut-butter color sounds perfect.


Stop Family Violence

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I made the Duck Gumbo for dinner tonight, and it was sooooo good. I appreciate the input of all. I brought together all the good advice, and made up the "recipe." I'm not sure I can remember all that I did, but this is the main idea...

I made the roux with equal parts goose fat/butter, and flour, and got it medium-dark. I thought is was a beautiful rich color. To that I added the trinity, using both green bell and red pepper, and adding garlic. After that was ready, in went the duck stock, bay leaf, cayenne, a little salt, smoked andouille sausage and tasso ham which had been sliced, browned and drained on paper towel, and it simmered quite a while. Somewhere in there I added a little fresh oregano, and a seeded and chopped tomato. Later, the duck went in, and at the end, a little okra and parsley. I think that's it.... I served it around a timbale of rice, sprinkled with scallions, and then file at the table. To go with it we had a salad of cucumbers and onions, the best chive-jalapeno cornbread I ever made, and a big ol' red wine.

i8995.jpg

i8996.jpg

i8997.jpg

As for my Cajun style cooking plans, next I hope to make a shrimp etouffee, and sometime later in the summer or fall, the Brooksie's Seafood Gumbo.

I'm not real sure what the distinguishing characteristic of etouffee are... What would be the main differences between shrimp gumbo and shrimp etouffee and shrimp creole?

Thanks again.

Edited to laugh at myself... the second picture shows that I had gone "BAM" with the file on my serving. My husband said it looked as sloppy as Emeril's garnishes.


Edited by Susan in FL (log)

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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The primary difference between shrimp gumbo and shrimp etoufee is the thickness and amount of the liquid (think gravy versus broth) and the okra or file in the gumbo (neither has a place in etoufee). Shrimp creole is completely different, being a primarily tomato-based sauce made without a roux.

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Hi, all. I'm a Cajun in Lafayette, Louisiana. I've made a few posts in the Louisiana section of eGullet, but am still very new to the boards, slowly exploring other areas.

As it happens, I'm making my first pot of Gumbo Z'herbes as we speak. I started off with Emeril's recipe (because it required less work than some of the others ones I found), immediately screwed part of it up, but am soldiering on. In my experience, an early screw up does not mean you won't end up with a good pot of gumbo! We shall see.

In an earlier part of the thread, someone said:

I have a friend from the Houma area. He introduced me to the local tradition of bringing the gumbo to a fast simmer and poaching eggs in it. I think the way it is served is that a scoop of rice is put in the bowl, the poached egg put on top of that, then the gumbo is ladled around it.

My mom used to slip raw eggs into a simmering pot of leftover gumbo, using the poached eggs to make up for the fact that her hungry family had scarfed up a good bit of the chicken or seafood or meat when the gumbo was served the first time.. The poached eggs were delicious, but always considered an 'extender' for the leftovers, if you know what I mean.

Damn, there were other comments that I'd planned on responding to, but my memory just ain't what it used to be. I'll post again when I can remember what I wanted to say. :raz:


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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