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Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3


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I will state first off that I had a "stupid" day. I knew it would be such when I sat down to pay bills this morning, licked the envelopes, put stamps on them, stuck them in the mail box and put the flag up. Came back inside to discover that I hadn't put a single on of the checks I'd written out in the envelopes. The day progressed (or digressed) from there.

But, it was to be a gumbo day, and I had to baptize my new Le Creuset 5+ quart oval.

So, I set out to gumbo. I decided to go with the recipe fifi carefully included on page 1 of this thread. I printed the recipe. I carefully gathered all of the ingredients and proceded to chop the trinity, and added cayenne to this. Got out the oil and flour. Got out the new pan.

Realizing that I would be standing and stirring for a long time, carefully chose music (Don Walser's "Down at the Sky View"). Had a smoke. Cracked open a beer. Peed. Cranked the tunes. Started rouxing. Interesting this about the roux. It seems to go through the same sort of "stalls" as smoking a butt. Realized then that I had left the instructions by the computer, but by this time, the roux was beyond leaving it for even a 30-second dash.

Here is a photo of my roux. I took it a shade darker, but I had left the camera on and it went into standby mode, so didn't take a picture of the darker stuff.

gallery_6263_35_188031.jpg

This is where I started to have some trouble. I added the trinity, and after about two minutes, it is still sputtering, and the roux is getting even darker, so I added a tidge of stock.

gallery_6263_35_38999.jpg

Then I had my Oh, Shit moment. I thought I remembered that fifi said that the cut-up sausage should be added to this mixture and stirred for another 5 minutes or so before adding the stock.

Although I had carefully takent he sausages out of the fridge, opened the package and put them on my prep board, I had forgotten to cut them up. Things in the pan were going fast and furious enough that I didn't figure I should quit stirring to cut sausages (first time on a Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm that I longed for a kid to be home :biggrin: ). So, I attempted to cut a sausage with one hand, and that particular one flew across the room.

So, I went ahead and added the stock, then cut the sausage and added it.

This is the sausage I used:

gallery_6263_35_437464.jpg

It is from Hackenmeuller's in Robbinsdale (MN) was was garlicky, with a pepper punch.

Let the simmering begin!

Two hours later, as instructed, I added some cut up chicken thighs that had been dusted with some sort of Emerile stuff that someone gave us (I couldn't find cajun spice mix at my local market). A bit later, I added cut up okra.

So, I'm ready to plate up. I was sure I had parsley. What I had was a bag of cilantro, well past it's prime, so we did not garnish.

This is it:

gallery_6263_35_921159.jpg

It was wonderful. Eveyone loved it (add caveate that Heidi was not home for supper). Even Peter, who has been picky ate it. Since Peter is just learning to love hot spicy, I didn't put as much cayenne in as I would do for Paul, Diana and I, so I augmented mine with Tabasco Chipotle.

We ate more than half the pot. So stuffed afterwards we laid around. I will take the leftovers to my folks tomorrow. They both have colds (like all of us) and I do think that this is a good remedy for said illness.

The pot cleaned up like a dream, with the exception of the two stickers. In yet another stupid moment, I neglected to remove both the LC sticker and the UPC code stickers from the pan.

One thing that struck me is that a squeeze of lime just might be good on Gumbo.

We are happy and full. My new LC was baptized in proper style. One thing that I worried about was that this was an oval and I wouldn't get a good simmer on the narrow ends. Not to worry. That metal holds enough heat to simmer the parts that aren't over the burner.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Susan . . . That looks absolutely lovely.

No biggy on not adding the sausage when I do. I have tried to figure out why the roux looks darker after adding the trinity but I don't have a clue. Your Emeril's stuff is probably spot on. I keep a jar of the Rustic Rub around that I make up myself. It is my go-to Cajun style seasoning.

Yeeks. Even after last week's Cajun orgy, I may have to get a package out of the freezer and have gumbo again tomorrow.

Pretty pot.

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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Nice work! I really like the fact that people all over the world are finally getting something good to eat! You people have been deprived for too long. I am thinking that maybe we should move along here to another project.

What's next? Jambalaya? Etouffee? Some kind of Sauce Piquant (you pick the meat-me, I might use some alligator from my neighbors, the alligator farmers.)

Anyway, what's next? This is incredibly fun and seems to be a big hit all round the world. This is a strange a bizarre place, this eworld.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Brooks, I had to laugh at this:

See them in crystal clear water in the climate controlled environment . . .

You know, strangely, I have never made sauce piquant. Odd.

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 go, literally, to the alligator farm at least twice a week to pick up my oldest (one of the boys in the family is my son's best friend). The water in the huge swimming pools that they live in is crystal clear. It is, in fact, a working farm, not a tourist attraction-although they completely rebuilt a house like mine (if mine had been ripped to the studs and rebuilt) that was on the property. So you have a beautiful house, a hundred or so huge old pecan trees, and these long, low houses in the back of the property where the gators live and grow-until they are big enough to skin and eat :raz: They have a pretty nice life aside from that. Incidentally, hide prices are out of sight for the first time in years. It's good to be an alligator farmer right now. They have tours, so sometimes you go out there and there are all of these foriegn tourists wandering around snapping pictures and stuff. It is kind of surreal.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Yeeks. Even after last week's Cajun orgy, I may have to get a package out of the freezer and have gumbo again tomorrow.

Well, I've certainly been bitten by the bug. Made another gumbo night before last, this time shrimp and andouille...with okra...and tomatoes. It was a big hit with my son and me but a little spicy for my wife (more on that shortly). It vaguely resembled the "gumbeaux" I used to make when I thought I knew what I was doing (wrong again :wacko:), but was waaaay better. General proportions: 1 large onion, small green pepper, 3 stalks celery, 6 cups homemade chicken stock, 1 lb each shrimp and andouille, 1/2 lb okra, 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, and the other usual stuff.

Since I was a one man show, no time to take a pic of the roux, but here's a shot of the roux after the mise was tossed in and stirred to let things cool down a bit (pot is a 4.5 Qt LC).

gallery_11476_774_27831.jpg

In the background, you can just see lightly browned slices of andouille and the chopped okra. The roux looks a little darker than it really was (no clue why), although it was well beyond peanut butter.

After simmering off and on and adding everything except the shrimp, I let it simmer for another 30 minutes, added the shrimp and let it simmer for a final 10 minutes. Here's the final result.

gallery_11476_774_66033.jpg

And if I'd learn to plate properly, I would have wiped off the rim and not slopped the juice on top of the rice before I took the picture (sigh), but you get the idea.

Flavor was very good, although a bit spicy for my wife's taste. Among things I'd do differently next time, I'd cut the cayenne from 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp, put the tomatoes in earlier and simmer longer so they would disintegrate or nearly so. Other than that, I'm fairly pleased with the results.

As I was warned earlier, the strength of the andouille flavor considerably reduced or overshadowed the taste of the shrimp. Not bad really, just seemed that there was a flavor tone that was almost missing. Might put this version on the B list rather than the A list :raz:. Oh yeah, and I remembered Fifi's note about Worcestershire Sauce. After tasting about mid-way through, noticed that it was missing a little something. One Tbsp W Sauce did the trick. Thanks Fifi :biggrin:.

I think I'll let my gumbo adventures rest for a little while now. We just inherited three pounds of venison, and I think my chili pot is calling my name :raz:.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Aww Geez, you people are killing me! Now I have to go make some gumbo!

I've got some duck breasts in the freezer, so I think I'm going to do a duck and andouille pretty soon.

FWIW, I'm pretty impressed with the gumbo's that are being created. Usually I cringe when "non-Louisianians" attempt creole/cajun dishes based on flawed stereotypes, but there is some good stuff here. :biggrin:

Keep 'em coming!

Kevin

www.NolaFoodie.com

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Aww Geez, you people are killing me!  Now I have to go make some gumbo!

I've got some duck breasts in the freezer, so I think I'm going to do a duck and andouille pretty soon.

Duck and andouille sounds like a match made in heaven to me :biggrin:. Please post pics when you do it. Okra and/or tomatoes, or no?

FWIW, I'm pretty impressed with the gumbo's that are being created.  Usually I cringe when "non-Louisianians" attempt creole/cajun dishes based on flawed stereotypes, but there is some good stuff here.  :biggrin:

Well, I'm a native Texan. Is that close enough? Naw, I guess probably not :raz:, but thanks for the kind words anyway.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Aww Geez, you people are killing me!  Now I have to go make some gumbo!

I've got some duck breasts in the freezer, so I think I'm going to do a duck and andouille pretty soon.

Duck and andouille sounds like a match made in heaven to me :biggrin:. Please post pics when you do it. Okra and/or tomatoes, or no?

FWIW, I'm pretty impressed with the gumbo's that are being created.  Usually I cringe when "non-Louisianians" attempt creole/cajun dishes based on flawed stereotypes, but there is some good stuff here.  :biggrin:

Well, I'm a native Texan. Is that close enough? Naw, I guess probably not :raz:, but thanks for the kind words anyway.

I think this duck and andouille gumbo was the best gumbo I ever made. I didn't use breast meat exclusively, but hopefully you can get a little inspiration by clicking here.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Well, now that we've spread the gumbo gospel throughout the world, what is next?

Just to remind, the Cook-Off is intended to be a forum at which we all can cook the same dish and share our experiences in a non-competitive, collaborative manner, making a dish:

-- that you've always wanted to make at home (and may enjoy out) but rarely have made, or haven't made successfully;

-- for which special but locatable ingredients may be used, but for which expensive special equipment is not required;

-- that includes techniques, ingredient combinations, or other elements that intrigue you;

-- from a different cuisine than that of the previous Cook-Off dish;

-- that demands some time and effort, but that rewards that effort for even those first approaching it; and

-- that motivates you to try it out, ask questions, serve it to friends, and share photos and stories.

Prior to gumbo, we did cassoulet and char siu bao. Earlier I had mentioned pho and a thai curry; I'm about to cook up a big batch of chili (though the thought of doing a chili cook-off fills me with visions of e-steel-cage battles between cooks from adjoining towns in Texas) to freeze; a while back, someone wisely suggested choosing an Indian dish of some sort (biryani? a curry?).

What say y'all?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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...(... the thought of doing a chili cook-off fills me with visions of e-steel-cage battles between cooks from adjoining towns in Texas) ...

Heck, who needs adjoining towns? That happens in our household all the time, and we aren't even in Texas!!

:laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'd like to keep a global feel to this. Something to challenge most of us. This past cook-off was terrific. Nothing that isn't fairly accessible. A new skill (dark roux) to learn. I liked that there was challenge in learning a new and time-consuming technique.

I don't have any suggestions. Sigh.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I have thoroughly enjoyed this cook-off. It's really been enjoyable reading about first-timers experiences with roux.

Regarding the next cook-off item, how about a baked item? Specifically a baguette or if you really want to get into it, croissants.

It's cheap, it's all about the technique, and I can almost guarantee that not too many have made their own croissant. This would teach a valuable skill, especially for those with fear of the oven. Plus lots of room for variations on the theme.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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We are making gumbo today..will post full pictures when done!

my vote for next cook off would be paella, osco busco (sp) or something else Italian! but I'm sure you all can tell that i'm up for anything really!

Please do post the pics. Prior to this thread, I only thought I knew how to make a real gumbo, but I've learned a great deal, all to the good I hope :wacko:.

I'd vote for osso bucco. I've looked at the recipes a jillion times (well, maybe only half a jillion :raz:) but never tried it. It doesn't look all that difficult, but takes quite a bit of time (I think). Count me in on that one, if that's the group's decision.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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sorry for the lateness of this, here is my recipe

Chicken, sausage and prawn gumbo

Ingredients

1 chicken about 2 kg

1 cup peanut oil

1 cup all purpose (plain) flour

3 onions, chopped into fine cubes

2 green bell peppers, chopped into fine cubes

3 stalks of celery, chopped into fine cubes

1 small bunch of scallions, sliced into fine rings

1 small thai (scud) chilli or as hot as you like it, chopped

6-7 sprigs fresh thyme

4-5 bay leaves

350 g (about 11 oz)okra sliced into 1/2 in slices, pan fried till slightly caramelised

500-700 g ( about 1 lb )smoked spicy sausages, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices,

fry till crisp and lightly coloured

1 head garlic, peeled and crushed

2-3 cups of chopped tomatoes (I used tinned Italian tomatoes)

2 hungarian green peppers, chopped into fine cubes

600 g (about 1 lb) of prawns, peeled and reserve the shell for stock

salt and pepper to season

Method

Put chicken in a pot just big enough for 2 lit (2 quart) of water to cover the chicken (if you can add some big chunks of celery, carrot, onion, bayleaves and peppercorn) bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. remove the chicken to cool down, then shred in big pieces, put aside.

put prawn shells in a small saucepan, add about 2 cups of water to cover, simmer for 5 minutes then strain and reserve the stock.

Put the chopped onions, bell peppers, scallions and celery together into a large bowl.

In a thick bottom pot start making the roux with oil and flour till dark brown, stir constantly, and be very careful not to get any of this on your skin, once you get to the desired colour, throw in all the chopped vegetables in the bowl. (your kitchen should fill with the most amazing aroma by now ) stir very quickly to coat the vegetables with the roux to cool it down from colouring further, cook till vegetables are soft. add in the chicken and prawn stock ( you can reserve 2 cup of the stock to check the thickness, and to adjust the consistency by adding more later). Add okra, bayleaves, thyme, bring to simmer for about 40 minutes, add garlic, hungarian peppers,thai chilli and tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, add the sausages, the shredded chicken and simmer very gently for about 5- 10 minutes, add prawns and simmer till cook through about 2-3 minutes, check seasoning , serve with rice and lots of chopped parsley. :wink:

I have sent some shots on page 7 of this thread.

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[i'd vote for osso bucco.  I've looked at the recipes a jillion times (well, maybe only half a jillion :raz:) but never tried it.  It doesn't look all that difficult, but takes quite a bit of time (I think).  Count me in on that one, if that's the group's decision.

Problem with this one, I think, is that veal shanks can be tough to find, and expensive.

I know that for the gumbo, Torakris had trouble finding smoked sausages.

I think it's important that we select something with readily available ingredients -- everywhere. Paella actually sounds good. Although a lot do not have ready access to really fresh seafood, I'm figuring frozen would work in a pinch.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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On a slightly off topic note, I am in the middle of making ducks in olive gravy (sort of).

For those of you that would like to see what I am talking about and have a copy of the Cotton Country Cookbook that I am always going on about, this is more or less out of there, except that I am smoking the ducks in heavy pecan smoke instead of browing in a million degree oven. I will, of course, provide photographic evidence so that I can keep up with the rest of you food nerds.

This dish, by the way, is common here. I think that it's roots, however, lie in Provence as it is a pretty much classical peasant pot food dish. It's really good, especially if you can let it cook for hours and hours. That will not be the case here, though. I am eating in a couple of hours-so it will just have to do.

It will be served with maque choux, cornbread, and some kind of green salad.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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I have thoroughly enjoyed this cook-off. It's really been enjoyable reading about first-timers experiences with roux.

Regarding the next cook-off item, how about a baked item? Specifically a baguette or if you really want to get into it, croissants.

It's cheap, it's all about the technique, and I can almost guarantee that not too many have made their own croissant. This would teach a valuable skill, especially for those with fear of the oven. Plus lots of room for variations on the theme.

Glad you've enjoyed it -- and I will say that for me, and I'll bet for a bunch of other folks, you've made it far more enjoyable!

While I agree that croissant making is a worthy endeavor -- and if you haven't made them yourself, you really should; all you need is a cool kitchen and patience -- I think that we should leave baking out of the cook-off, in general.

But perhaps someone would like to start an eGullet Bake-Off??? :biggrin:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Baking sounds good to me, but some of us bake frequently

Other suggestions:

A full turducken might be too much, but a basic chicken ballontine should be feasible, and teach new boning skills

Stuffed pork trotter or hock if you don't like chicken

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