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Gumbo: Cook-Off 3


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This weekend my husband and I are going camping with 22 other people. I volunteered to cook gumbo Saturday night. And I need advice. Mostly about adding the roux.

Yesterday I made a dark roux (that got even darker while it was cooling in a metal bowl) using 2 cups of oil and 2-1/2 cups of flour. After it cooled off, I put it in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

So, my question is how do I make gumbo using a pre-made roux?

I'm thinking that I'll slice the andouille, cook that and use any rendered grease to cook the trinity. Then I'll add chicken stock, shrimp stock and clam juice. (I use the recipe from Cook's Illustrated for Creole-Style Shrimp and Sausage gumbo.)

Should I add the roux with the trinity? Or with the chicken stock? Does the quantity of roux I use change because the roux is added later in the process?

I'm not sure how much gumbo to make for that many people but that's a question for later. If I screw up adding the roux, it won't matter if I have enough ingredients.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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This weekend my husband and I are going camping with 22 other people. I volunteered to cook gumbo Saturday night. And I need advice. Mostly about adding the roux.

Yesterday I made a dark roux (that got even darker while it was cooling in a metal bowl) using 2 cups of oil and 2-1/2 cups of flour. After it cooled off, I put it in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

So, my question is how do I make gumbo using a pre-made roux?

I'm thinking that I'll slice the andouille, cook that and use any rendered grease to cook the trinity. Then I'll add chicken stock, shrimp stock and clam juice. (I use the recipe from Cook's Illustrated for Creole-Style Shrimp and Sausage gumbo.)

Should I add the roux with the trinity? Or with the chicken stock? Does the quantity of roux I use change because the roux is added later in the process?

I'm not sure how much gumbo to make for that many people but that's a question for later. If I screw up adding the roux, it won't matter if I have enough ingredients.

- Kim

Just get the roux hot enough to sautee in, without burning it, heave in the veg, keep it stirred occasionally with the lid on (if you don't, you'll lose the liquid and much of the flavor as the steam escapes) and you're on your way to some swell eats. Render the sausage seperately (if you don't, the combination of the oil in the roux and the oil in the sausage will give you way too much oil. You won't be happy). Once the veg are soft, then you can add the stock and everything else.

Piece of cake. A good piece, as a matter of fact.

Have fun.

B

Oh, and this might be helpful. It's funny going back and reading it now, as life ain't the same no more. But, happily, at least The Gumbo is.

Edited by Mayhaw Man (log)

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Just get the roux hot enough to sautee in, without burning it

I have my fingers crossed. My roux is currently the color of a Hershey bar. I'm bringing flour and oil along just in case.

Thank you very much for the advice! I'm bringing a camera and hope to post pictures when I get back.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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

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

I didn't see this addressed in the thread; hope I didn't miss it.

I live in Upstate NY and have been growing okra for years. They grow very well, and you can easily get okras on some varieties to 10 inches or so. My plants currently are almost 5 feet tall. However, once the pods get beyond about 5 inches they become much too tough to use.

Its possible they have some more tender varieties that allow them to use full sized okras down in Lousiana, but I'm doubtful. It's been a while since I've been down there, but the cross-sections in the gombos etc I ate indicated a smallish pod size....

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I made gumbo!!!!

It was a grey, cold drizzly day today. I had all the ingredients in my fridge and spent the whole afternoon chopping veggies and making roux. After a while, my pot was happily simmering on my stove. OMG, my kitchen was filled with a wonderful homey smell of the gumbo.

Ladled on to my bowl.

gallery_48583_3741_211214.jpg

With rice on top...

gallery_48583_3741_293645.jpg

Thanks eGullet! This one's a keeper and will be a winter favorite for us.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I just made my first gumbo today, using Fifi's chicken and sausage recipe. Very fun to cook.

The veggies hitting the roux creates a very distinctive aroma that I identify with gumbo- I think it's the "secret." :biggrin:

I used a big Le Creuset pot, and the roux seemed to go faster than the suggested times; I think it was darker than peanut butter in 15 or 20 minutes. I stopped there, and maybe that's why mine seemed to be a bit thicker than most pictured here.

Also I put in a bunch of home-grown okra; maybe 2 or 3 cups, at the same time as the chicken (last hour). Was that the right time?

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Dan, I added my sliced okra after my veggie trinity cooked in the roux, which was just before I added the stock. I wanted the okra to be thoroughly cooked and it helped thicken my gumbo too. I didn't make it too thick since I wanted to slurp some soup with my rice.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Gumbo was a success!

By the time we got back to the campground, it was dark. Luckily, I had a headlamp and used that to see into the pot to make sure that the roux didn't get too dark when I heated it up. I shouldn't have worried.

At the last minute, I was told that two members of our group couldn't eat shrimp. No problemo as I had intended on making two pots of gumbo anyway. Another member didn't like spicy so we made crawfish etoufee for her.

We had such a great group of people. The only reason there were any leftovers is because not everyone understood the concept of gumbo. By the end of the night we had a quart of liquid left -- not a speck of meat in it.

- Kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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  • 6 months later...

i was making the roux and after 20 minutes it was pretty dark but not toasted after adding the trinity.after adding it,it had a roasted smell not a nutty one..so i didnt add it because it would probably ruin the soup. is this the way it should smell?

thanks

Edited by kenchin2007 (log)
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i was making the roux and after 20 minutes it was pretty dark but not toasted after adding the trinity.after adding it,it had a roasted smell not a nutty one..so i didnt add it because it would probably ruin the soup. is this the way it should smell?

thanks

It was probably fine; it does have a unique smell and as long as it is not burnt all is well. Next time, just taste it before you add the stock to make sure. Let it cool though, that stuff is like napalm!

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  • 9 months later...

Gumbo season has returned here. I made my best pot yet, with some chicken, tasso ham, and andouille sausage. We're having the same meal again tonight.

I made the roux very dark this time -- Hershey-bar brown -- and it made the perfect base for the gumbo. I realized last night that I regularly add a T or so of flour throughout the early stages of roux stirring, and I have been wondering whether it might help with the quality of the roux somehow.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Until last week I had never made gumbo before. In fact, I'm not sure I'd ever even eaten gumbo before. But, there's a first time for everything, and that's kinda the point of the Cook-off series anyway. So, here's my entry in the gumbo category. Won't win any prizes in Louisiana, but it's still mighty tasty.

I started with your standard trinity, plus a can of diced tomatoes, some salt, some cayenne, and some McCormick's "Cajun Seasoning," whatever that is. I also broke out a package of homemade ham from the freezer. It's sliced for sandwiches, but I don't think that hurt anything:

gallery_56799_5925_29145.jpggallery_56799_5925_23244.jpg

I keep reading that I'm looking for a roux the "color of a Hershey's bar." Well, mine isn't quite the same shade, and might be a smidge too light, but this is as brave as I could manage:

gallery_56799_5925_2086.jpg

As directed, I dumped in the trinity and stirred like mad:

gallery_56799_5925_17725.jpggallery_56799_5925_7178.jpg

gallery_56799_5925_17481.jpggallery_56799_5925_22886.jpg

I used a homemade pork stock, plus a little beef stock I had leftover in the fridge:

gallery_56799_5925_317.jpggallery_56799_5925_18733.jpg

Finally, the ham is added, and I cooked it in the oven at 250°F for a few hours, till the flavors were feeling harmonious:

gallery_56799_5925_6959.jpg

To serve, I fried up some more trinity (sorta: I used poblano instead of green bell this time), then added some medium grain rice and water to cook. Served the gumbo poured over the rice, but I forgot to take a picture until I had stirred mine up:

gallery_56799_5925_9745.jpg

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Just the ham in mine, in the spirit of using up stuff taking up freezer space. It's a very smokey homemade ham, and I think it contributed a great flavor to the gumbo. I actually would like to come up with some kind of almost-vegetarian gumbo (I say almost because I would still use pork or chicken stock in it). I couldn't come up with anything suitable for this iteration, however. Anyone have any suggestions?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Just the ham in mine, in the spirit of using up stuff taking up freezer space. It's a very smokey homemade ham, and I think it contributed a great flavor to the gumbo. I actually would like to come up with some kind of almost-vegetarian gumbo (I say almost because I would still use pork or chicken stock in it). I couldn't come up with anything suitable for this iteration, however. Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm far from the Gumbo expert, but I'm wondering if adding some chopped okra or chayote would be acceptable in an "almost" vegetarian gumbo? Would okra melt into an unappetizing texture?

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Vegetarian gumbos are definitely part of the cajun/creole tradition....both seafood-only and completely vegan ones. Catholic fast days shaped south Louisiana foodways, and "big" fast days like Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday/Good Friday meant extra sacrifice (as opposed to regular meatless Fridays). Anyway, gumbo z'herbes is based on greens: an odd number, for good luck, added to a gumbo when you'd ordinarily add the proteins. Collards, mustard, turnips, kale, cabbage, beet tops, parsley, peppergrass, scallions: if it is leafy and green, you'll find it in gumbo z'herbes (aka gumbo verte or green gumbo). Some versions of gumbo z'herbes use a little ham or sausage as flavoring, which is removed from the pot before serving for a "meatless" dish. Here are some photos of my most recent pot of gumbo z'herbes.

RE: okra--generally it is sauteed a bit before it goes into the gumbo pot, and it is usually cooked very, very soft (no crunch, very little "chew"). I've never encountered chayote (called mirliton in south Louisiana) in gumbo, though it is used to good effect in casseroles & stuffed with seafood. I think it would probably dissolve into mush in a gumbo....

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Vegetarian gumbos are definitely RE:  okra--generally it is sauteed a bit before it goes into the gumbo pot, and it is usually cooked very, very soft (no crunch, very little "chew").

Big okra fan here. I think that it's always worth getting twice as much as you need and preparing half as crispy bindi in the South Asian tradition: sauteing half of it cut into 1/2" slices and tossed with some seasonings. It crisps up really nicely and is great to toss on top. I'd think that textural variation would be appealing in a muscle-free gumbo.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hey Y'all!

C, I love your Gumbo Z'herbe blog entry. I actually had my first Gumbo Z last weekend in Richmond -- of all places (at the Black Sheep, whose owners used to work at Palace Cafe). And I couldn't remember from my cookbook reading if it had a roux. I think I'll add it to the repertoire. The restaurant offered smoked turkey, crab, and shrimp as add ons, all of which should go well, I'd think.

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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So what were the proteins, Chris? Mike? Both look pretty good...

Andouille and chicken. Turned out very well, but I went a bit too far on the roux.

Why do you say you went a bit too far on the roux?

What were the measurements of flour to oil? Your roux looked much more dense than the one I made last weekend. I used 3/4 cup flour to 1/2 cup oil, and when I pulled my spoon across it - it left a path where you could see the bottom of the pan for a second before it filled in. It wasn't as thick looking as yours.

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