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Susan in FL

Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee, Creole...

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Etoufee is Creole in origin.

Gumbo is West African in origin, all though the "Cajun" variety is somewhat different than the "true" meaning.


Never trust a skinny chef

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Success! My mother-in-law was thrilled with her Shrimp Etouffee dinner. Everyone enjoyed it. I was pleased with how all the food turned out. It was Brook's recipe for Bess's Etouffee. The only modifications were three pounds of shrimp instead of two, and the addition of parsley, thyme, and one small tomato seeded and diced. It had barely a tiny hint of tomato, just right. French rolls and a big chopped salad were served with it. It was garnished with chopped scallions, and hot sauces and file were at the table. I used Jasmine rice.

To nibble during the afternoon before dinner I made a smoked fish spread which was real tasty, for Triscuits, and a black bean and corn and stuff salsa for tortilla chips. Before and during dinner we had sparkling wine, Beaujolais-Villages, and beer. I made it easy on myself for dessert and offered store-bought Key lime pie, pecan pie, and cream puffs, and we drank coffee, Strega, and Just Desserts Original Chocolate Chip Cookie Cream Liqueur.

I thought the foods before were good selections to precede this dinner, the smoked fish spread/dip especially. It is so easy and how it turns out depends on the quality of the smoked fish. This time it was smoked blue marlin. One of my seafood market guys smokes it and this was exceptionally good:

About 10 ounces smoked fish

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves

About 3 tablespoons bottled horseradish

I must put in a plug for my mother-in-law. She is 83, and she is just so cool. Not that we are any spring chickens, but she can keep up with us, whatever we do together, if not out last us. It's a pleasure to be with her, and I'm glad she became a snowbird. (So is she with the weather that is up north right now!)


Edited by Susan in FL (log)

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Susan, thanks for report, it gives a northeasterner hope after hours of shovelling a car out from 6' snowdrifts. Your mother-in-law is lucky--she's in warmer climates AND enjoying your excellent etouffee.

I'm not sure how I stumbled across this thread (the beauty of eGullet!) but what I'm reading sounds too delicious, so I've bookmarked it for future use. I'm thinking a gumbo or etouffee would be perfect when it is my turn to feed a crowd of hungry college basketball fans during a group viewing March Madness--go LSU? (though I'm a Big East fan and alum). It will be my first. Home-made gumbo that is, not basketball game. I'll post again when I'm there.



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Linda, glad to have you here. Please do post again when you have your gumbo or etouffee dinner... or when you are in your planning stages, as I did. This thread really has been helpful to me. It even provided conversation for dinner when we were discussing the differences in the dishes, which was the subject of this topic to begin with.

I feel for you all up there. It was a beautiful day here -- we even had a drink after brunch at an outdoor bar -- but we have a freeze warning for tonight. It might get below 32 for 4 to 6 hours. We had to cover our tomato plants, flowering plants, and the more fragile palm trees.<--- I just love saying that. :biggrin:


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I'm coming late to this thread, but I just found kosher andouille sausage in the market today. So of course, I decided I have to make gumbo. We're fleeing the cold for warmer climes for a bit later this week so my attempt won't be until we return. In the meantime, reading all this info is getting me excited.

Fifi, I've looked at your recipe. Brooks -- is yours posted anywhere? I looked at the photos, but where can I find the actual recipe?


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I'm coming late to this thread, but I just found kosher andouille sausage in the market today.  So of course, I decided I have to make gumbo.  We're fleeing the cold for warmer climes for a bit later this week so my attempt won't be until we return.  In the meantime,  reading all this info is getting me excited.

Fifi, I've looked at your recipe.  Brooks -- is yours posted anywhere?  I looked at the photos, but where can I find the actual recipe?

There are many Gumbo recipes that don't use sausage at all. I am planning to make a dark meat chicken version later this week.

Have fun in the warm. Here in Dallas we keep flip flopping from 70s to 20s. No snow so it's all good :raz:


Never trust a skinny chef

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Did you catch the recipe for his Brooksie's Seafood Gumbo on the first page? I'm pretty sure there are other Mayhaw Man Gumbo recipes around eG somewhere... I will edit if I find any of them.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Susan, thanks for the encouragement. I've already gotten a couple of my sportsfan foodie friends to read through this thread. A couple are southern in origin so as you can imagine have strong opinions on the subject, and they seem quite impressed by the level of detail in the advice offered here (no surprise to us!). I figure I'll practice making the roux well beforehand, since it seems to be both the key element and potentially tricky. If I have any questions that haven't already been answered in ths thread I'll be sure to post them. The biggest dilemma I foresee is deciding which recipe to use.

I doubt I'll be able to get the fresh gulf shrimp that some believe are essential, but this time of year fresh Maine shrinp are available up here. They are small and very sweet, only sold fresh with heads on--incredibly tasty. Perhaps not authentic by Bayou standards but I have to imagine are a better substitute than the farmed shrimp otherwise available.



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...but I have to imagine are a better substitute than the farmed shrimp otherwise available.

Absolutely! They will work perfectly.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Just wanted to say, I made some shrimp etouffee last night and tried Brooks' technique for making the roux over very high heat.

I had always heard that this was a HUGE no-no, but it turned out perfect in a fraction of the time. If you've never made a roux before, you might want to go slow, but if you know what it's supposed to look and smell like, the "fast roux" technique rocks.

I had etouffee start-to-finish in about a half hour!


Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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bleachboy, it may take me until the weekend to find the time, but I'll do a few trial runs via the traditional method then try the "fast roux" method and will report back. I am a newbie to this particular culinary tradition so may not be the best judge. But I trust you and Brooks not to steer me wrong.



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Hi,

I was all inspired by this thread, and on my day off, planned to make Mayhaw Man's chicken and sausage gumbo. Invited my Mom (a complete non-cook) over to "visit" with me while I puttered in the kitchen. We had a great visit and a big cast-iron pot of beautiful gumbo at the end of the morning.

Had it for dinner Saturday night with a bottle of Jade Mountain Mourvedre--yum!

On Sunday morning we served leftovers to "the folks" for lunch: 82 year-old Uncle Reg, Mom, Mom and Dad-in law--all in their 70s. Everyone loved it, all had seconds, even though a number of them claim to not like "spicy" food, couldn't possibly eat that big bowl, etc.

It was a huge hit. I showed my 77 year-old mother-in-law (who bought a computer and taught herself to use the internet last year) e-gullet and the step-by-step pictures for the gumbo, and sent her home with my copy of the notes and ingredients list. She's going to make it this week.

Next, the shrimp etouffe ...

Thanks for the inspiration!

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Welcome... this kind of cooking is infectious!


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Thanks All

Yes it does clear things up

The one thing though is with a gumbo, it does seem like there is a lot of variance in people’s interpretation of this classic dish.

I am going to refer you to this post upthread. Yes, there is tremendous variation. All of it good. :biggrin:


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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Ms. Agrodolce - Glad to hear your gumbo was such a hit. I've never made it for a gumbo virgin who didn't like it!!!! Welcome to eG.

LindaK. - Don't let anyone fool you - the beauty and wonder of cajun food is due in large part the using local ingredients. Your Maine shrimp will be perfect for a gumbo. Don't be afraid, just jump on in.

I agree with fifi- if you go to visit 20 cajun homes, you'll get 20 different gumbos and they'll all be terrific. All different, all good.


Stop Family Violence

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Thanks Dana for your comment about the importance of fresh, regional ingredients as central to cajun cooking--I agree wholeheartedly and believe it is true for many other great regional dishes. When I finally got around to making a bouillabaise after so much hesitation (no rascasse or other mediteranean fish, never mind the great fish I can get in New England...) I kicked myself for waiting so long.

And to fifi's comment about the infinite variety of gumbo, that is always the fun of discovering a new regional dish, learning the variations on a theme. While reading this thread I noticed that most of the acolades went to home cooks rather than restaurants. Good home cooks always work with what is fresh and least expensive.



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. . . . .

And to fifi's comment about the infinite variety of gumbo, that is always the fun of discovering a new regional dish, learning the variations on a theme.  While reading this thread I noticed that most of the acolades went to home cooks rather than restaurants. Good home cooks always work with what is fresh and least expensive.

That is a very perceptive comment about home cooks versus restaurants. Keeping in mind that the origin of gumbo (and other dishes in this topic) is the story of using what you have to make something as delicious and filling as you can . . . I have no proof, but I will bet that most of the famous restaurant varieties of gumbo originated with someone's Auntie's (pronounced Ahn-tee's) version being scaled up and standardized. And I will not-so-modestly admit that many of my gumbos, based on what is fresh and at hand, put a lot of the famous restaurant versions to shame. But then, they have to standardize to meet the expectations of the clientelle so they are working with a handicap. The smaller mom and pop cafes and such may do a much better job over the long haul. There was a cafe in LaPlace Louisiana many years ago that was owned by a relative of my Gumbo Goddess. If you ordered gumbo, you never knew what you were going to get. The menu just said "Gumbo." On repeated visits, you could experience a range of styles and ingredients that was just amazing.


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 will bet that most of the famous restaurant varieties of gumbo originated with someone's Auntie's (pronounced Ahn-tee's) version being scaled up and standardized.

That is how we pronounce Auntie up here in Boston...coincidence? I think not. :smile:



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Today I made crawfish etouffee, and may I just say, "Poo-yie! C'est bon!"

I made it as simple as possible. I've said in previous posts that I miss the little containers of crawfish fat that used to accompany the 1 lb. packages of crawfish tails when you bought them in the stores. That's where I think all of the good flavor of crawfish etouffee comes from. They don't sell it anymore, but the 2 lbs. I bought recently seemed to have some good fat in the bags of tail meat. I melted one stick of butter and added 2 T. of flour, stirring for about five minutes, not really even waiting for it to change colors before adding my chopped veggies. I let the veggies simmer til almost tender (I had to add a little water midway through), and then I added the crawfish tails. I seasoned with Tony Chachere's once and let it simmer for 10 minutes, gave it a taste and seasoned again. Here it is.

etouffee.jpg


Edited by patti (log)

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

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Patti . . . I think you have just defined the classic etouffee. Very simple. It is one of those things where if you just look at the recipe you could not imagine how good, no, ethereal it is.

The only crawfish tails I can find in the groceries are those damn things from China. I refuse to partake. I may be going to the fish houses this weekend to get an inspiration for a small pot of gumbo. I will check out the crawfish situation. If I can't get anywhere with the crawfish, I will do your etouffee with shrimp.


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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Patti, that looks wonderful! Thank you for illustrating a simple "classic etouffee." :smile:


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Thank you, ladies, your opinions mean a lot to me.

I think one of the problems with the Chinese crawfish is that they wash off all of the fat which renders the crawfish almost flavorless. The Louisiana folks know better.

I forgot to say I added a few good dashes of Tabasco sauce, too.


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

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On crawfish fat . . .

I think one reason why they do that is so that they will keep longer, even frozen. Many years ago, when I worked for FDA, we used to analyze crawfish tails from the various packers when they were in season. Since we didn't use all of the samples some . . . ahem . . . found their way to our freezers. (I think the statute of limitations has run out. :biggrin: ) Back then, the fat was kinda in there with the tails. After not very long in the freezer, and I mean a really cold well below zero freezer, the crawfish took on this awful taste. To me it almost tasted like formaldehyde. It was really inedible. Then they started packing the fat separately. This was in the very infancy of the retail prepared crawfish trade. I believe one of the local universties figured out the fat problem.


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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Having made the gumbo, today calls for a shrimp etouffee. This is my drop dead simple version.

1 stick of butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced bell pepper (I like the red ones)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoons salt or more to taste

1 cup shrimp stock (or chicken if you didn't make shrimp stock from the shells)

1 pound of shrimp peeled and deveined

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for maybe 3 minutes. You don't want to brown the flour, just cook off the raw taste. Stir in the chopped vegetables, cayenne and salt and cook until the vegetables just begin to wilt. Add the stock slowly. Add the shrimp and cook until just done.

Serve over white rice adding chopped parsley and green onion if you wish.

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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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