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Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3


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the only type of andouille I know of and can get hold of is the fresh one made of chitterling or tripe and its texture is soft and loose, somehow that to me sounds very different from what I read, I never used it in my gumbo, my common sense tells me not to. . . Does anyone one know of a good substitute  What does the louisiana andouille taste like?

What you've got there is andouillette, It is the French original, that evolved into andouille. I'm guessing that Spanish Chorzo would be a better substitute. (Not Mexican, because of the opposite problem w/ the French; the Mexican is fresh, the Iberian is smoked.)

I also add okra to my trinity. . . and green pepper only no red, I find red impart a slight sweet and mellow taste that I find not agree with.

This only makes sense to me as the word Okra comes from the west African for okra. but there are gumbos without okra as sure as there are those w/o crawfish. Those are where file is primarily used. I was once told by a gumbo cook that file and okra are never simultaneously used--it's one or the other only.

As far as the red bell pepper is concerned, I knew a Louisianan who confessed that when she was growing up her family threw out the bell peppers that turned red because they thought they'd gone bad. Only goes to show you that "folk wisdom" is no better or worse than any one's set of random bits of knowledge.

sometimes I boil a little bit of prawn shells and add a bit of this too( only a little bit, it is rather strong). I add tomatoes too.

I've been firmly admonished by some "experts" that poultry and seafood are not to be mixed in a gumbo and that tomatoes are forbidden. I've seen these rules flouted a hundred times. But tomato has umami, how can that hurt?

Good luck with your antipodean gumbo,

Marya

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  • 2 weeks later...

so last wednesday, on my day off, i made sure i visited the ladies' room then began to stir the roux.

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my reading companion for the 25 minutes to hit dark peanut butter:

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last night it was dinner served with white and long grain and wild rice.

the flavors had melded beautifully and i am afraid to say i scarfed the whole bowl - after adding some file powder and some hot sauce.

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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  • 1 month later...

Three quick gumbo thoughts brought on by another night of andouille, tasso, and chicken gumbo. First, tasso really adds a depth of flavor that I like a lot -- too much probably for shellfish but great with chicken. It's easy as pie to cure, too. Second, I'm convinced that a stainless steel saute pan is a better choice for the early stages (roux, trinity, initial stock addition) than the Le Creuset I've used for years. It has high enough sides for splatter reduction and I can control the heat much better, in particular.

Third, I made an extra large batch of roux this afternoon with a mind toward putting some in the fridge, and, as I suspected, it was easier to negotiate a larger amount of roux than a smaller one. I didn't have to stir quite as frantically as I've had to with a smaller amount -- no edges to worry about burning. In addition, it darkened up in the pyrex bowl while I was waiting for it to cool down. I now have a good cup of extra roux on the fridge door.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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That's an interesting thought about making extra roux, Chris. My strategy has been to make what I label "Gumbo Starter" for lack of a better term: I make up the roux, add the trinity, add the stock, and maybe add some ham or other smokey flavor. I simmer this for a bit, then bag it and freeze it. When the mood for gumbo strikes I find some protein or greens that look good, cook them up, add them to the "starter," simmer for a bit, and serve. This lets me make up a batch of gumbo with whatever protein looks good, or I've got handy, without having to do the roux/trinity/stock part every time.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I don't know if it's because I'm too idealistic, but the idea of jarred roux just bothers me. I don't make gumbo often, but when I do, it's important to stand and stare at the Le Creuset for a while, as I draw the wooden spoon around and think about nothing.

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Mike, it might be worth considering keeping a jar on hand just for back-up because there might come a day when something happens (God forbid -- but the kids might fall and need first aid or something like that) and you burn the roux in the final few minutes -- it could happen. Then, instead of contemplating another hour with the roux stirrer, you could use your emergency jar of roux and continue on with dinner.

I've lived in La all of my life and if you look way back deep in the pantry of most cooks around here, there is that emergency jar of roux. :raz:

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  • 3 months later...

Appropriately, I have a question regarding roux.

I just made the fried chicken and andouille gumbo from Donald Link's Real Cajun. This recipe begins by frying the chicken in oil, then using that oil for the roux. Now, as evidenced above, I've made roux before. I even like making roux. I did not like making this roux. It progressed normally until about mid to dark peanut butter, at which point it just stopped. It refused to get darker, no matter how I turned the heat up, or yelled at it, or... It took 2 HOURS. It turned out normally, so everything was eventually fine, and I did not have a roux-induced meltdown. But how is it possible that I can crank up the heat as much as I want and nothing happens? It was as if the roux was shielded from the heat. Has anyone had something like this happen before?

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This recipe begins by frying the chicken in oil, then using that oil for the roux. 

It was as if the roux was shielded from the heat.  Has anyone had something like this happen before?

Did you strain the oil first so that there were no little bits left in it after frying the chicken? I'm not sure what happened, but I know that after you add foreign components to the roux of flour and oil (the trinity), that the roux quits browning. Perhaps if there was something left in the oil after frying the chicken, then that stopped the flour from browning.

Not sure though -- just a thought.

2 hours of stirring a roux :laugh: How many beers did that take? :raz:

Rhonda

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I know that after you add foreign components to the roux of flour and oil (the trinity), that the roux quits browning. 

That's because the trinity lowers the heat and releases moisture, I think, not because there are compounds in the vegetables that prevent browning. I've gotten called away from the pot at this stage and returned to black roux and burned vegetables.....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I, too, am mystified by this. I've never had a roux "stop" browning, or refuse to brown, especially if using high heat. I don't think it has anything to do with using chicken drippings or frying the chicken first....browning skin-on chix in oil (or browning sliced smoked sausage or tasso or andouille in oil) prior to making the roux is SOP for many cooks, and I can't say I've ever encountered anyone who talked about a browning problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...
 

I've lived in La all of my life and if you look way back deep in the pantry of most cooks around here, there is that emergency jar of roux.

True that. I lived in Acadiana for 17 years and it's a staple. It's seldom hiding in the back of the pantry, but sitting happily near the stove, like a self-confident garden gnome beckoning you to make chicken fricassé.

I make my own now with half butter, half olive oil and don't make it as dark as it comes in the jars, but I can't say it's any better than the jar roux.

I still remember Mr. Frank and watching him make "chocolate" on the stove when I was un petit garcon. He asked me if I wanted to taste. You bet I did! The result: a mouthful of roux! :shock:

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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It was very bizarre.  And I don't think it was the chicken bits either, because that doesn't really explain why it would hit a certain point and stop.

You're going to smite me for this, but I'm guessing the heat was off or somehow maxed out. :huh:

If there's heat, it will go all the way to carbon before stopping.

Me thinks you have discovered some new type of chemical.

Even rubber was an accidental discovery.

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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Not sure that this solves any mysteries, but I did a recent gumbo-making experiment and tested a couple of issues that came up here.

I started my roux with chicken fat (although I carefully strained out any little crispy bits) and my roux certainly had no problem browning. Also, just to stoke the controversy again, I added hot stock to hot roux and had no problems with lumping or integration. I added it in 2-oz ladle pours, but that's what I would have done with any temp liquid, at least at first until things loosened-up a bit.

Here was the whole procedure (and yes, after doing this one a hot August evening, I completely understand why folks might keep a jar of pre-made roux standing by, rather than making it each time!)

I browned-off some bone-in chicken thighs, rendering out as much fat as was practical, then tossed them in some simmering stock to finish (and enrich the stock further). After a while, I pulled the thighs out, let them cool, picked the meat, skimmed the stock, but kept it hot.

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Chopped some Andouille, and threw that in the hot chicken fat to brown off.

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Removed the sausage, strained the fat through a fine sieve, and ended up with some very nice chicken/pork fat to start the roux with.

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I augmented it with some peanut oil to bring it up to the right volume.

Chopped the celery, peppers and onions, had them standing by.

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Cleaned out my pot (actually deglazed it with stock, added that to my simmering stock, then washed it out thoroughly) then added my fat/oil combo and a little more than a cup of cake flour and started stirring.

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Heat was on medium-high on my relatively wimpy gas burners. Didn't take long at all to start seeing some color.

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Getting there. (Man, you folks were NOT kidding about not being able to stop stirring. I had to keep stirring with one hand, while hitting the camera shutter with the other!)

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Looks (and smells) about right:

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Got the trinity in, indeed amidst some steaming and sputtering and sizzling.

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Roux went a little darker, just about exactly where I wanted it, which was largely luck...

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After maybe 5 - 10 minutes, started adding (hot) stock.

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I know the conventional gumbo wisdom says not to use hot stock, but it worked just fine for me...

After maybe an hour of simmering, I added the chicken and sausage, which I'd tossed with cajun spices, and given a quick spin though a hot pan to toast the spices up a bit. Let the gumbo simmer another hour or so.

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I have to say that it turned out pretty darn well, and got some good reviews from friends. I wasn't very careful in measuring out my stock, so I think I ended up making it a little looser than I might have in a perfect world, but I'm not sure that was too tragic.

I'll be taking another run at it soon to see if I can get the thickness right for my taste. If I had half a brain, I'd wait until the weather cooled down a bit to do that, but I'm in the mood to experiment with this now. I find it's tolerable with one particular lifeline:

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Next time: cold stock, to see if it acts any differently...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Thanks for the kind words! Indeed there were enough leftovers to pass around to some friends, and to keep me fed for several days...

I'm eager to take another run at it soon, making some adjustments. One thing I was unsure about - after adding the trinity to the 8 bazillion degree roux, where should I be setting my flame at that point? I reflexively turned it down to medium-low-ish, but I had to wonder if I was supposed to keep it cranking for a little while, and just keep stirring like a maniac? I did keep stirring them, over the lower heat, for about 10 minutes before adding stock, but I was kind of guessing about that part.

I felt like my vegetables stayed intact much longer than I anticipated, although finally, by the time I served it, they'd pretty much all dissolved and disappeared. But I wondered if I should have been cooking them a little further before I added stock.

Any thoughts?

And I'm also wondering about different timing and technique for adding the cajun spice blend. I was riffing off the original recipe posted in this thread, but it called for dusting the chicken with the spices, and then adding it to the pot, but I wanted to cook my chicken off early to get some of that fat, and I don't think I wanted those spices in my oil at that early stage. So I tossed them in a pan with some already browned-off andouille, and toasted them up a it until they smelled right, then dumped it in the gumbo. Turned out fine, but I'd be happy to hear alternatives.

Big thanks to everyone who shared their experiences, this thread was a big help. I'm planning on making this for a group of about 25 in a few weeks, so I felt the need to run a few tests first!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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