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Chris Amirault

Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3

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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 don't know where the idea of adding the trinity to the roux comes from.

Someone told me this was first popularized by the Chef Paul Prudhomme's flash roux in the 1980s.

I certainly don't have his bona fides and respect him greatly for all he's done for Cajun cuisine, but I can tell you for certain that we Cajuns almost never do it this way, adding the trinity to the hot roux, that is.

We make the roux on Day 1, and we do it slooooooow, on moderate heat, intermittently stirring for a couple hours.

When it reaches the desired color (lighter for chicken/sausage, darker for seafood, although there's no hard and fast rule), we remove from the heat, carefully (Cajun napalm, so be careful!) pour into a stoneware bowl, and let it cool to room temp.

The residual heat will darken the roux considerably more as it cools. The oil will separate and come to the top overnight, so you don't even have to cover it.

Day 2 you bring stock to a boil (most actually use water, not stock, but then they have the advantage of old hens on offer at the butcher all the time, which add tremendous flavor to the gumbo, so much more than fryers!), add the roux, add the trinity, add the spices, add the meats, etc. just all at once.

There's no need to layer or add in any particular order (unless you're making seafood gumbo, in which case you add the seafood at the very end).

Let it simmer away happily, adding more roux or stock to get the right consistency (it's not a fricassé, so it shouldn't be much thicker than the consistency of, say, half n' half).

Don't adjust the seasonings today, as you'll likely over do it, especially the salt.

Let the gumbo cool at room temp. and just put it outside or leave it on the counter overnight.

Yup, no need to refrigerate, because you're bringing it to a boil on...

Day 3, bring to a boil, adjust seasonings, serve over a rice (that's made with a little white vinegar and oil/butter).

re:seasoning the chicken: We don't, ever.

We just add it to the pot.

All of the instructions around seasoning the chicken, roasting or sauteeing to render fats, etc. are unnecessary and not really authentic. I do it these days, but it doesn't really add anything to the final product, IMO.

You want all that fatty goodness to be in the pot.

All the fat comes to the top eventually and it's simple to remove.

uber-secret that no one seems to know outside of Cajun country: Adding a small amount of yellow mustard is miraculous to gumbo.

Try it without and then try it with just a small amount of yellow mustard (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon).

It brings an entirely new dimension to gumbo and really astounds people who try it for the first time.

It's almost like making one of the French mother sauces (like Sauce Robert) and adding that one ingredient that changes the entire profile of the sauce.

Always add to your serving, of course, not the pot.

Here are a few images from one I made in July 2009:

1. Roux (I just left it in the cast iron pot this time, didn't even pour into a bowl)

gallery_25933_6761_385309.jpg

2. Roux

gallery_25933_6761_27214.jpg

3. Mise en place

gallery_25933_6761_426969.jpg

4. Day 2, all done

gallery_25933_6761_149960.jpg

5. Adding hot, smoked sausages I had shipped to me from Poche's Market in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana (a market I can't recommend highly enough).

gallery_25933_6761_10617.jpg

6. I remove the fat at the very last moment, so it's a lot (stock fat, sausage fat, chicken fat, roux fat, etc.) I want all that goodness in the pot until the end stage.

gallery_25933_6761_119905.jpg

7. Et voila, mes ami, le gumbo:

gallery_25933_6761_356296.jpg

This one I made a year ago is the same, but shows more meat, including a piece of tasso, or lean pork smoked to perfection:

gallery_25933_6761_441121.jpg


Edited by fooey (log)

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With all due respect to fooey, I can introduce you to many hundreds of home cooks in Acadiana who do indeed add the trinity to the hot roux (and were doing so long before anyone ever heard of Paul Prudhomme), who never make their gumbo in a three-day process, and who always season the chicken & brown it deeply before adding it to a chicken gumbo. [And I'd caution you about an unrefrigerated large pot of gumbo left out overnight; it can easily sour, and no amount of boiling will un-spoil it.]

That's what I love about gumbo: it belongs to every cook who decides to make it. It's the ultimate in culinary creolization--every hand that stirs the pot adds something else.


Edited by HungryC (log)

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With all due respect to fooey, I can introduce you to many hundreds of home cooks in Acadiana who do indeed add the trinity to the hot roux (and were doing so long before anyone ever heard of Paul Prudhomme), who never make their gumbo in a three-day process, and who always season the chicken & brown it deeply before adding it to a chicken gumbo.  [And I'd caution you about an unrefrigerated large pot of gumbo left out overnight; it can easily sour, and no amount of boiling will un-spoil it.]

That's what I love about gumbo:  it belongs to every cook who decides to make it.  It's the ultimate in culinary creolization--every hand that stirs the pot adds something else.

Hi HungryC, I agree that there are as many ways of making gumbo as there are people that make it. I'm not the authority, I don't think there is one; but, I know of no one–after living in Acadiana on the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin for two decades in the very heart of Cajun country with a family that speaks Acadian french as their first language to this day–no one that adds the trinity to hot roux.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm not even saying it's wrong. I just don't know anyone who does that.

The roux simply isn't ready to use until it has had time to rest. If you think roux smells great when it's done, give it a days rest and then smell it. That's when it smells so great you want to eat it with a spoon.

True, the three day process is an exception. Most do it in two days (roux and gumbo on Day 1, eat on Day 2), but since I make stock these days, I do roux/stock day 1, gumbo day 2, eat day 3.

As for spoiling, disagree. I've never seen a gumbo spoil (sour?!) leaving it out overnight. It's like chili, you can leave it on the stove for days as long as you bring it to a boil each day.

It just gets better and better and better.


Edited by fooey (log)

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My mom always added the trinity to the blazing hot roux and it helped cool it down. My mother grew up in Texas and she learned to make gumbo from my father's mother (whose first language was Cajun French), so this technique has been around a long time (grandma died at 94 two years ago).


Edited by patti (log)

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

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My mom always added the trinity to the blazing hot roux and it helped cool it down. My mother grew up in Texas and she learned to make gumbo from my father's mother (whose first language was Cajun French), so this technique has been around a long time (grandma died at 94 two years ago).

How dark is the roux just before she did this? Peanut butter, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, French roasted coffee, charcoal?

The only reason I can think someone would want to do this is if they get the roux very close to burnt and want to immediately stop it from cooking. The vegetables would caramelize, is that what the thinking is? It sounds basically like an "enfleurage a l'huile" (a hot oil extraction) of flavor from the aromatics into the roux's oil. That oil is not supposed to be part of the liaison. It's burnt oil.

The way I've always made it (and the way my mother and grandmother, etc. make it) is to get the roux just slightly past the color of peanut butter and then remove it from the heat. As it slowly cools (we never force temperature reduction, but let it cool slowly to room temperature), the color very slowly becomes a burnished red-dark chocolate covered by a layer of oil, which is not put into the gumbo.


Edited by fooey (log)

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And what's bothering me most about this technique, of adding the vegetables before the roux is allowed to cool and separate from its oil, is that it's causing people to make an emulsification.

The roux's oil is becoming part of the gumbo, almost like a classic French emulsification (mayo, etc.).

This is very much not what gumbo is supposed to be like.

It should be a very clean flavor, rich yes, but not a tongue-coating fatness.

I apologize in advance for using some of the pictures in this thread (as a lot these are getting really close to the real deal and were probably quite delicious), but these pictures show that the roux's oil has been emulsified into the gumbo itself, it's become part of the liaison, which is wrong.

The liaison for gumbo is roux after it has separated from the oil used to make it.

Gumbo is clean, thick yes, but clean.

Note how all of these look greasy (and recognize that this greasy emulsification consistency is because the vegetables were added before the roux and the oil used to make it have separated):

gallery_2_4_27384.jpg

gallery_11476_774_414.jpg

gallery_20334_801_218689.jpg (even says that no fat separation occurred)

gallery_16100_231_391255.jpg

gallery_21049_162_18650.jpg

gallery_6134_119_30025.jpg

gallery_8322_933_398153.jpg

gallery_8636_4165_220854.jpg

gallery_52440_5738_40330.jpg

gallery_56799_5925_18733.jpg

gallery_23992_6753_86663.jpg

Again: The liaison is the roux only, after it has separated from the oil used to make it.


Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

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Fooey, your gumbo looks awesome, and I think I need to try making one your way too and see how they compare...

I'm a rank newbie at making gumbo, but I've done a lot of reading beyond this thread, and it seems clear that there are many paths to the destination, and I doubt any one is inherently correct. I certainly look forward to trying many techniques.

But I don't think I buy the idea that cooking the trinity in the roux is going to suck all its flavor into the oil, which would then get lost in the skimming...

Edit: FWIW, I had a TON of oil break out that needed to be removed, I just waited until the very end to do so, kind of like you did.


Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

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gallery_25933_6761_356296.jpg

I think this one of yours looks especially delicious, precisely because it looks greasy!

Are you really suggesting that your roux doesn't have fat emulsified into it? Yeah, I know you pour a bunch of oil off, but I really doubt you're left with just browned flour.


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Fooey, your gumbo looks awesome, and I think I need to try making one your way too and see how they compare...

I'm a rank newbie at making gumbo, but I've done a lot of reading beyond this thread, and it seems clear that there are many paths to the destination, and I doubt any one is inherently correct.  I certainly look forward to trying many techniques.

But I don't think I buy the idea that cooking the trinity in the roux is going to suck all its flavor into the oil, which would then get lost in the skimming...

Thanks, philadining.

I agree. I just deleted that part of my response (re: the roux is going to suck all its flavor into the oil) because that was just me talking out loud, trying to understand why people would do it this way.

I replaced it with the other response about how the roux should always be allowed to separate from the oil used to make it.

In Louisiana, for example, a lot of people buy pre-made jars of roux. The brand I link to is one that my Mom always has on standby.

Note how the oil has separated from the roux. You open the jar, remove a big spoonful, let all of the oil drip back into the jar, and then add the roux to your stock.

Works like a charm and a lot of these pre-made rouxs are quite good.


Edited by fooey (log)

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gallery_25933_6761_356296.jpg

I think this one of yours looks especially delicious, precisely because it looks greasy! Are you really suggesting that your roux doesn't have fat emulsified into it? Yeah, I know you  pour a bunch of oil off, but I really doubt you're left with just browned flour.

Yup, that's exactly what I'm saying.

I used a duck for this one, so there was just a tremendous amount of fat. I also like duck fat, so didn't skim it all.

The important thing, however, is to note is that the fat is floating on top of the gumbo, it's not emulsified into the gumbo.

I could have easily skimmed this fat, where as the examples above are "unskimable", for lack of a better word. The fat is those are an inextricable part of the gumbo, literally emulsified into it.

Does that make sense?

Gumbo should not have a thick fatty mouth-feel, it should be like roux-thickened chicken soup.


Edited by fooey (log)

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It probably sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but I'm not.

The closest analogy that comes to mind is making stock itself: don't stir, don't boil, skim fat and impurities as soon as they appear, etc.

Why?

So the stock is clear and tastes clean, not adultered by fats and impurities that get emulsified back into the stock by boiling or stirring.

It's not the best analogy, but it's close.

In this case, people are adding mirepoix to the hot roux + roux oil and then adding hot stock, etc. All of that oil in the roux is going right into the stock and, for the most part, it's not coming out. You almost have to ask why they even bother to skim the stock in the first place. It's not going to taste clean no matter what you do now, it's going to taste fatty.


Edited by fooey (log)

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I honestly don't know what I'm doing, so I can't authoritatively say what's happening to all my roux oil, but as I mentioned, after adding the stock and letting it simmer, I had a LOT of oil break out. That was undoubtedly some stock fat, some andouille fat, some residual chicken fat, and surely some oil from the roux.

All I know is that the final product did not, in fact, taste fatty, more like what you described: roux-thickened chicken soup. So think at least some of the fat from the roux is being released, and removed, just at different times in the different techniques.


Edited by philadining (log)

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I think you are splitting hairs - may I quote your original post?

6. I remove the fat at the very last moment, so it's a lot (stock fat, sausage fat, chicken fat, roux fat, etc.) I want all that goodness in the pot until the end stage.

So do you really labor over skimming your stock to be fat-free?


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I honestly don't know what I'm doing, so I can't authoritatively say what's happening to all my roux oil, but as I mentioned, after adding the stock and letting it simmer, I had a LOT of oil break out. That was undoubtedly some stock fat, some andouille fat, some residual chicken fat, and surely some oil from the roux.

All I know is that the final product did not, in fact, taste fatty, more like what you described: roux-thickened chicken soup.   So think at least some of the fat from the roux is being released, and removed, just at different times in the different techniques.

There are so many variables, but if fat is coming to the top such that you can skim most of it, then you're doing something right.

But those gumbos where the fat doesn't come to the top at all, where the gumbo's thickening agent (liaison) is some sort of roux-fat emulsification, that's wrong.

If you look at my Picture 6, there's just a bunch of fat that comes to the top. There must have been 4 cups of it in all, but it all came to the top, where I could remove it. Picture 4 and 5 shows the gumbo once most of the fat is removed. Note how it doesn't look like a fatty emulsification, but like a roux-thickened chicken soup.


Edited by fooey (log)

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So do you really labor over skimming your stock to be fat-free?

I'd never get it to be fat free because, let's face it, gumbo is fat made jolly.

As much as I can skim, however, I do, unless it's a fat I really love, like duck fat. :)

But this is not the point I'm trying to make.

The point is that the way we Cajuns add oil-separated roux to stock does not result in an emulsification that traps the fat in the stock. The fat should not be part of the thickening; that's the purpose of the roux. The roux is used as it's supposed to be here, as liaison, as thickener. With this method, the fat eventually comes to the top where most of it can be skimmed.

This other method, adding mirepoix and then hot stock to roux that has not separated from its oil somehow results in an emulsification of fats and roux and everything else. I almost wonder if the fat is somehow modulating the thickening power of the roux. It's like the fats are being trapped in the gumbo, like oil gets trapped in egg to make mayonnaise. This is why many of the gumbos above look like fatty stews.

The fats do not come to the top and cannot be skimmed. This results in a fat-roux-thickened stew that, while it might taste like gumbo, completely lacks the correct viscosity or mouth-feel of authentic gumbo. It doesn't result in a clean-tasting soup bursting with the hearty flavors of its ingredients. In effect, these are much closer to fricassé than to gumbo.


Edited by fooey (log)

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The point is that the way we Cajuns...

Let's not over-generalize: the cooking techniques of south Louisiana are quite variable. The traditions of your family, or your town, do not necessarily represent the traditions of other French-speaking folks in south LA. Pardon me for belaboring the point, but "Cajun" culture is not a monolithic ethnic concept. French speaking folks across south LA have an incredibly diverse set of influences, ranging from Irish, Italian, German, Isleno, Alsatian, Native American, Senegalese, Congolese, etc. What Donald Link's Cajun-German-upland-South family shares as its food traditions have (sometimes more than subtle) distinctions from heavily Native American folks in southern Terrebonne parish, or the French-speaking African-Americans from Arnaudville, or the (vestigal) Spanish settlements around Sorrento & Gonzales. The seafood-heavy gumbos of southern Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Jefferson parish are worlds apart from the hen & smoked sausage gumbos of Evangeline parish.

Back to gumbo: how much fat cooks out toward the end is partly determined by the amount of fat in the sausage. If you continue to cook it, more fat will cook out of the sausage...the same is true if you're using skin-on chicken. I like to skim it off, but that's purely personal preference. Some folks like a slight sheen of oil on top. Beaucoup (non-fine-dining) restaurants in Louisiana will serve a bowl of gumbo with some oil floating on top, and it isn't considered inappropriate by (most) diners.

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The point is that the way we Cajuns...

Let's not over-generalize: the cooking techniques of south Louisiana are quite variable. The traditions of your family, or your town, do not necessarily represent the traditions of other French-speaking folks in south LA. Pardon me for belaboring the point, but "Cajun" culture is not a monolithic ethnic concept. French speaking folks across south LA have an incredibly diverse set of influences.

Variable, yes, but there are fundamentals.

What I'm saying here is I think the method of adding stock and mirepoix to hot roux is essentially wrong as a fundamental step.

I'm fine if you want to say that it's just a variation of technique, but I stand by the fact that it results in a completely different "fatty gumbo", one where the fat is emulsified into the gumbo itself, not floating on top (see pictures above).

If all of roux fat eventually came to the top and you could skim it, I'm sure it would be fine, but that's not what's happening. The roux fat is being trapped or emulsified into the gumbo itself and is becoming part of the liaison, and that's not a technique variation, that's an error.

I mean, there are people that bring a white chicken chili to a Texas chili cookoff and expect to be taken seriously too. Is it chili? I suppose that depends on what you call chili.

We're are passionate about our food. The fact that is hasn't be codified like French cuisine is not a reason, I feel, to allow anything to pass as authentic. That's a slippery slope that leads to stuff like acceptable etouffeé being a pound of crawfish tails, trinity, and a can of Campbell's creme of mushroom soup in a pot.


Edited by fooey (log)

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I have become a real proponent of using tasso, even in small quantities, in most of my gumbos. How do others approach that potent pork in theirs?

Tasso is a real boost to a chicken or duck gumbo (wild duck, I mean), but I don't use it much with seafood. I prefer a quality smoked ham (less spice) or more lightly smoked & spiced sausage with shrimp, crab, and/or oysters (though tasso & oysters are goo-oood together in other ways).

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I have become a real proponent of using tasso, even in small quantities, in most of my gumbos. How do others approach that potent pork in theirs?

I use it like I use smoked sausage, but not usually in place of, just as a compliment to, say if I don't have a smoky enough taste.

I'm careful to taste it before I use it in anything, however.

It's either much too salty or not salty at all.

If it's too salty, I rinse it, like I rinse brine off of brined meat.

It's the smoky flavour I want, and that survives desalination.


Edited by fooey (log)

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Made a pot of okra-andouille-shrimp-oyster gumbo today, as my better half is feeling under the weather. At our house, gumbo functions as a cure-all slightly more effective than pho ga.

PB130853.JPG

Cooked the onions in the roux...

PB130856.JPG

Then I added the bell peppers, celery, & garlic...too bad you can't smell photos.

PB130857.JPG

Water, plus andouille & seasonings. After the veggies stop foaming, I added shrimp, boiled for a while, then slipped in the oysters, green onions, and a spritz of lemon juice for a quick 10-15 minute final simmering.

PB130864.JPG

Gumbo isn't very photogenic, but I was attempting to capture the okra & its little seedy bits...


Edited by HungryC (log)

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Made a pot of okra-andouille-shrimp-oyster gumbo today, as my better half is feeling under the weather. At our house, gumbo functions as a cure-all slightly more effective than pho ga.

PB130864.JPG

Gumbo isn't very photogenic, but I was attempting to capture the okra & its little seedy bits...

Looks pretty damn good to me!

Just got John Besh's book, My New Orleans and am all set to make Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo. Crossing my fingers, here... haven't made gumbo in many years.


Edited by John DePaula (log)

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Made a pot of okra-andouille-shrimp-oyster gumbo today, as my better half is feeling under the weather. At our house, gumbo functions as a cure-all slightly more effective than pho ga.

PB130864.JPG

Gumbo isn't very photogenic, but I was attempting to capture the okra & its little seedy bits...

Looks pretty damn good to me!

Just got John Besh's book, My New Orleans and am all set to make Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo. Crossing my fingers, here... haven't made gumbo in many years.

Surprising how easy this dish was to make. Prep work took a while but once that was done, it was smooth sailing. The recipe produced a pretty solid example of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Didn't rock my world but was, nevertheless, quite enjoyable. The sausages I had access to were not as good as ones from New Orleans, and that made a difference. I think I've almost always had the seafood versions with shrimp, crab and oysters. That'll be my next gumbo.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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The sausages I had access to were not as good as ones from New Orleans, and that made a difference. I think I've almost always had the seafood versions with shrimp, crab and oysters. That'll be my next gumbo.

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      Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans have been preserving fish and seafood for millennia. While we are best known for our ruby-red, oily-rich, smoked salmon, other species of fish found in the Pacific and in our streams are delicious when cured and smoked including Halibut, Sablefish and Idaho Rainbow Trout. And don’t think that you can’t smoke shellfish, alder-smoked Dungeness Crab is a wondrous Pacific Northwest delicacy that evokes memories of crab roasting over a driftwood fire on the beach.
      Another method of preserving fish is to bath the beauties in a brine—a combination of water, sugar, salt and spices that adds flavor and moisture to fish before it is dried or smoked. And speaking of smoked fish, you can do it in a small pan on top of the stove, in a cast iron drum, a barbecue pit, an old woodshed or a fancy digital smoker. The methods and flavors produced by smoking fish are endless.
      Old-fashioned ways of preserving fish, (while adequate at the time), aren't always the best method today. Today's technology provides us with the tools to create cured fish that is moist, succulent, tender and with a hint of smoke. The Modernist movement has certainly played a role in bringing this age-old craft into the 21st century, so for the avant-garde in the crowd, show us your creative wizardry for preserving fish the "modern" way.
      Cured, Brined, Smoked or Salted, the art of preserving fish opens us up to limitless possibilities that transcend the boundaries of cuisine and culture. So let’s sew-up the holes in our fishnets, scrub the barnacles off the rowboat and set out to sea in search of some delectable fish to cure, brine, smoke and salt.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to a time-honored, cherished eG tradition, the eG Cook-Off Series. Today were venturing into a new world for Cook-Off's. Member Kerry Beal came forward with a Cook-Off idea we just couldn't pass up--Pork Belly--and inspired a new idea for future Cook-Off's. Knowing we're a community of great culinary minds, we'll be inviting the Members to send us ideas for potential future Cook-Off's, (more information to come later). Take it away Kerry and let's raid the larder and start cookin.
    • By David Ross
      Fall is but a whisper of the recent past--at least it is where I live in the upper reaches of Eastern, Washington. We had our first fluff of snow a week ago and a reasonable November storm is predicted for this weekend with temperatures holding at a chilly 18 degrees at night.
      Along with the rumblings of cold winter weather and Holiday feasts, we turn our culinary musings to time-treasured, comfortable dishes. And so I invite you to join me in another kitchen adventure--the inimitable eG Cook-Off Series. In 2013, we've tackled the tricky cooking of Squid, Calamari and Octopus and we made delicious dishes out of the humble Summer Squash.
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).
      But today we're shunning all manner of counting calories, salt or fat content--for what is rich in flavor is good for the soul my dear friends. Please join me in crafting, nuturing and savoring a dish of Confit.
    • By David Ross
      Hello friends and welcome back to a time-honored tradition--the popular eG Cook-Off Series. We're in the heat of summer right now and our gardens are literally blooming with all manner of peak of the season ripe fruits and succulent vegetables. And there's no better time of year to honor a vegetable that is often maligned as not being as colorful or trendy as the chi-chi breakfast radish or the multi-hued rainbow chard.

      In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can get past the embarassment of seeing the poor devils dressed up and carved into silly, cartoon-like farm figures or pumped-up with organic steroids, you'll find a delicious, low-calorie vegetable packed with potassium and vitamin A. Yes friends, your dreams have come true for today we kick-off eG Cook-Off #62, "Summer Squash."
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).

      According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck.

      My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe.

      Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish.
      Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients one chooses to put into their version of Hash are limitless--we aren’t just talking cold meat and leftover potatoes folks.
      I for one, always thought Hash came out of a can from our friends at Hormel Foods, (as in "Mary Kitchen" Corned Beef Hash). It looks like Alpo when you scoop it out of the can, but it sure fries up nice and crispy. After a few weeks of research in the kitchen, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for Hash.
      So start putting together the fixins for your Hash and let’s start cooking. Hash, it’s what’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
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