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Chris Amirault

Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3

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Gross-out alert:
for novices, a couple of pointers. Take up the offer of the jar roux if you have young children. You cannot break up a fight or wipe up blood when you are in the middle of a roux.

Just to second, once again, that bit of advice. The stuff ain't just as hot as frying oil can get; it also bonds to whatever it hits, especially skin. It's bad news.

So, if one is inclined to find jarred roux, where would one find it? Especially in a place like southern California?

Not that I would use it but if I need that option, I want to know where I might look. I am thinking of joining this project.

How 'bout right here: Roux


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

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Bought my andouille from the butcher yesterday (I have the best sausage butcher within walking distance, very lucky.) and a bunch of chicken thighs. I'm goin' in! I'd love to use the jarred roux, but I doubt if it will be in the stores here. I'll report with casualties and results tomorrow. I live for danger. :wink:

Edited for spelling.


Edited by Cusina (log)

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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It's fat tuesday and gumbo's are all over the place, literally lining the parade routes. I'm starting on mine in a little.

speaking of what to serve with the gumbo, I know lots of cajuns who drop a hard boiled egg down in the bowl, and I know lots who put their potato salad in the middle of the whole thing. I think this evolved from trying to eat on horseback though, cause it's mostly the more rural friends who's families eat it that way. It's an aquired taste. The egg business isn't bad though.... but the file makes the yolk a funny grey/green. Be careful out there, don't let the napalm talk scare you, it's not that hard, just don't let yourself be distracted. I get to see my friends parents today and they'll be telling their stories. The last thing they always say is remember mass tomorrow!! They're always afraid we'll be so hung over we'll blow it off. No way, it's a part of Lent, smelling the burbon left over from the night before...

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To recap and just to clarify, there are different types of gumbo, just like there are different kinds of chocolate. They are similar, but they taste different, and are usually prepared differently.

Most gumbos (in south Louisiana) are served with French bread, potato salad, and hot white rice.

Okra - What many people think is the traditional gumbo, it is made with okra at the heart of it, giving the dish it's flavor and texture. It is a more delicate flavor. Shrimp and chicken, either one with sausage, are the most common meat components. It gives a light green to gray result, with a thickened stock that is more like a stew, having a lot of vegetable material cooked down in it. It's a lighter dish than the other versions and does not include the use of file'.

Roux based - This is the preference of a lot of people. The roux itself can be anywhere from the light side of medium to a stunningly dark. As the roux darkens, it creates more of a caramalized or even burnt flavor. The darker the roux, the more bitter it is. The bitterness is usually balanced out with the rest of the ingredients, so be careful. When in doubt, go for a lighter roux. We've covered the color stages.

A roux based gumbo can contain nearly anything - wild birds, turkey, chicken, fresh or smoked sausage, small wild game (rabbits and even squirrel), crabs, shrimp, and greens. Some people either poach an egg in the liquid, or drop in a previously hard boiled egg to let it soak up some of the goodness of a roux based gumbo. The egg does not add to the flavor of the dish, it serves to give another protien source, or something to eat the stock with, if the meat has been picked out - a rather common occurrence. File' is sometimes added at the table.

Handling leftovers - If you are lucky, you will have some left. Gumbo is even better the next day, providing you follow a few guidelines. Store the rice and stock seperately, otherwise you get a gummy mess. I've found the best reheating method to be the microwave, especially with dark rouxs. They tend to burn without really careful supervision of the reheating process. The gumbo will be thicker after a rest in the fridge, but resist the urge to add water. When it heats up, it should return to where it was the day before. The rice can be reheated in the gumbo itself, if you are microwaving single serving. Otherwise, the rice alone can be reheated in the microwave after dripping a tablespoon of water over it. It can also be steamed to renew it.

Gumbo, whether okra or roux, is probably the preferred comfort food for most Cajuns. For that reason, feelings run strong about it. More than regional differences, family traditions and personal taste dictate how and when the gumbo is made, and what the cook puts in it. The only things that okra and roux gumbos have in common are the rice, the trinity, and the pot they are cooked in.

I too have been a bit of a fearmonger regarding rouxs. They are dangerous, but no more than frying chicken or handling a pizza stone. If you are careful, you should be fine. But you must be careful, and be sure you have everything ready for the second the roux gets to the proper stage. The roux waits for no one, and cannot be reversed.

Also, if you take the same basic roux based recipe, and adjust the seasonings for a lot less water, that same technique makes a wonderful stew, also served over rice - no file'. That stew can be made with beef tips, meatballs, chicken, shrimp, or even just eggs. You may want to go with a lighter roux, since the roux's flavor is more pronounced in the stew version. In my family, it was called fricasse (but pronounced free-KAH-say).

I really do hope everyone gives this a try.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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Will someone please illuminate me? What is the correct phonetic pronounciation of andouille? My cheesehead butcher, well, I think he butchered it (on-duel). I've always thought it to be An-doo-ee. Is this right?


What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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Will someone please illuminate me?  What is the correct phonetic pronounciation of andouille?  My cheesehead butcher, well, I think he butchered it (on-duel).  I've always thought it to be An-doo-ee.  Is this right?

Yours is right, with the emphasis on the second syllable.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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Thanks for the thread... I am drooling all over my keyboard and am really psyched for my Fat Tuesday dinner tonight. While not as far away from New Orleans as some of our other readers, I wish I was there the thick of it. I'll have to make due tonight at CreoLa in San Carlos (www.creolabistro.com).

Happy Fat Tuesday... bon appetit!

PS: Keep it up. I want to jump in with some recipes from the Double Musky Inn, Girdwood Alaska - home of Real Alaska Mountain Cajun.


Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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So, if one is inclined to find jarred roux, where would one find it? Especially in a place like southern California?

Not that I would use it but if I need that option, I want to know where I might look.   I am thinking of joining this project.

How 'bout right here: Roux

Holeey smokes! Just when I thought all the bases had been covered (and finely summarized, thanks to Fist), I look at that CajunGrocer web page and find a Cajun-style roux offered...in addition to "Old-Fashioned" dark roux, light roux, and a couple of "instant" roux. (Aren't these all supposed to be "instant"?)

Folks in the know, what exactly would a Cajun-style roux be, if not a traditional roux? What color is it likely to be? And BTW, what would be more instant about the instant roux than the other jarred roux?

Not that I'm planning to buy roux; I'm looking forward to living dangerously soon. Let's see...dog asleep, cats drugged, it might work.

Edited to correct an attribution, although really, there are several excellent expositions in this thread...


Edited by Smithy (log)

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've been thinking about other things I have around which I could put into my gumbo: how do you think chicken livers would be? Is there any precedence for using organ meats in gumbo, or is it just not done?


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I've been thinking about other things I have around which I could put into my gumbo:  how do you think chicken livers would be?  Is there any precedence for using organ meats in gumbo, or is it just not done?

Organ meant, no. There are other uses for them. You wouldn't necessarily make Liver Au Vin, would you?

If you want the Cajun version of an organ meat dish, try just browning them off, then deglaze with a little onion and a very little chicken stock or water to make a gravy. Serve., like everything else, over rice. This is Rice and Gravy, which may just rival gumbo for it's popularity. Rice and gravy can be made with anything that will brown in a pan.

Edited to say - I just re-read the question. You can add chicken liver and gizzards to gumbos, yes, it is done, and they are good. My bad. You could do duck as well, but I wouldn't attempt foie gras in gumbo. I read that as calve's liver, etc.

In general, beef/veal or pork are only added to gumbo in the form of sausage.


Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)

Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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So, if one is inclined to find jarred roux, where would one find it? Especially in a place like southern California?

Not that I would use it but if I need that option, I want to know where I might look.   I am thinking of joining this project.

How 'bout right here: Roux

Holeey smokes! Just when I thought all the bases had been covered (and finely summarized, thanks to Chris), I look at that CajunGrocer web page and find a Cajun-style roux offered...in addition to "Old-Fashioned" dark roux, light roux, and a couple of "instant" roux. (Aren't these all supposed to be "instant"?)

Folks in the know, what exactly would a Cajun-style roux be, if not a traditional roux? What color is it likely to be? And BTW, what would be more instant about the instant roux than the other jarred roux?

Not that I'm planning to buy roux; I'm looking forward to living dangerously soon. Let's see...dog asleep, cats drugged, it might work.

Instant rouxs are cooked flour without the addition of oil. They work, but I don't care for them.

The difference between Cajun Style and Dark Roux is that the dark roux is darker. Same stuff, just not cooked as long as the dark. Add any of these products at room temperature to boiling water/stock/etc.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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Holeey smokes!  Just when I thought all the bases had been covered (and finely summarized, thanks to Chris), I look at that CajunGrocer web page and find a Cajun-style roux offered...in addition to "Old-Fashioned" dark roux, light roux, and a couple of "instant" roux. (Aren't these all supposed to be "instant"?)

Folks in the know, what exactly would a Cajun-style roux be, if not a traditional roux?  What color is it likely to be? And BTW, what would be more instant about the instant roux than the other jarred roux?

Not that I'm planning to buy roux; I'm looking forward to living dangerously soon.  Let's see...dog asleep, cats drugged, it might work.

The difference between "Cajun-style" roux and traditional roux is simply the name the vendor has chosen to give it. Ya gotta have a marketing angle, don't you? It's also a locally made, authentically Cajun trademarked product.

The so-called instant, powdered rouxs are another marketing angle, aimed at people who are trying to choose 'healthier' foods and want to use less oil in cooking. The flour is toasted and supposedly no oil is needed. Hey, Cajun vendors follow trends, too. They want to cash in on as many markets as they can.

Edited to add: Alternatively, it's what FistFullaRoux said. :biggrin:


Edited by patti (log)

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

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Ahh, a light is starting to dawn. I've been pondering flour as a thickener - in the roux, with oil, or toasted as in the 'instant' roux (thanks for the explanations) - and comparing it with my own flour slurry method of thickening some sauces. It's the *cooking* of the flour that makes the flavor difference, and that will happen only if the flour is toasted or cooked in oil...in other words, its temperature has to come above the boiling point of water, which is why the slurry thickener won't get the same effect...

<Clunks self upside the head> OK, y'all can laugh now at my grasp of the obvious. This is a wonderfully educational thread!


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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Back to andouille...

I've ordered from Jacob's in (LaPlace) and had it shipped to CA for an event. The party was a blast and the andouille was a tasty and "authentic" success. But just how does it stack up to other andouille producers?


Edited by Jambalyle (log)

Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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Ahh, a light is starting to dawn.  I've been pondering flour as a thickener - in the roux, with oil, or toasted as in the 'instant' roux (thanks for the explanations) - and comparing it with my own flour slurry method of thickening some sauces.  It's the *cooking* of the flour that makes the flavor difference, and that will happen only if the flour is toasted or cooked in oil...in other words, its temperature has to come above the boiling point of water, which is why the slurry thickener won't get the same effect...

<Clunks self upside the head> OK, y'all can laugh now at my grasp of the obvious.  This is a wonderfully educational thread!

There ya go. I should have explained it like that. It's a leap i made years ago, I just assumed that everyone else knew that too....

whoops.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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I have schlepped andouille home from several suppliers and, with a very few exceptions that I don't remember, they were all good. I have started seeing the "big names" as in Emeril and Aidell in the grocery stores and they may be marketing outside of the southeast. I didn't think theirs was coarse ground enough although the seasoning was ok. One thing I like about andouille is the texture the coarse grind gets after simmering for a while. Another major brand that might be more widely available is, surprisingly enough, Tony Chachere's. I found that at the not so big local Kroger of all places. It was also surprisingly good.


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've been thinking about other things I have around which I could put into my gumbo:  how do you think chicken livers would be?  Is there any precedence for using organ meats in gumbo, or is it just not done?

Use chicken livers in rice dressing/dirty rice. That would be an entirely different thread.


Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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I have schlepped andouille home from several suppliers and, with a very few exceptions that I don't remember, they were all good. I have started seeing the "big names" as in Emeril and Aidell in the grocery stores and they may be marketing outside of the southeast. I didn't think theirs was coarse ground enough although the seasoning was ok. One thing I like about andouille is the texture the coarse grind gets after simmering for a while. Another major brand that might be more widely available is, surprisingly enough, Tony Chachere's. I found that at the not so big local Kroger of all places. It was also surprisingly good.

Jacob's andouille (that's where I order mine too) doesn't really have a "ground" texture. It's more like little chunks of ham, cut into small pieces and slammed together in the beef casing. Very, very good IMHO, and Mayhaw assured me that it is the "real" thing.

We tried some Aidell's a week or so ago (I had run out of Jacob's), and for turkey and chicken sausage it's pretty damned good. Not chunky, not even very coarsely ground, and I'm not sure it was really smoked, but still not bad.

THW


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

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While in the market yesterday, I decided to get ingredients for gumbo, made it last night, Had a few glasses of wine while making it. it was delicious, just heat some up for breakfast, even better, took some shots, will post them here when I work out how.

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so do you never add okra to a roux based gumbo?

I really wanted to do okra....


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Of course you can use Okra Kris. You can add okra to anything-I am still working on perfecting my Okra Ice Cream. Don't let all of these "so called" experts try to dissuade you from the use of God's Pod.

Seriously, while there are two schools of thought on this (or a whole school system, actually), there are so many variations on the theme that no one is really wrong. There are just different ways of doing it.

Incidentally, someone up thread mentioned John Folse's stunning new book, The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine. I am not able to quote recipes at this point, as I have an as yet unpublished review floating around, but I can tell you that there is variation after variation in the book, and a decent explanation of the beast.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Mayhaw Man, can you tell us when Folse's book is coming out? My Amex card is twitching. I can't wait. Since I learned most of my Cajun repertoire by mucking around with friends that know what they are doing, I really don't have much in the way of books. But, I will say that everything I have cooked out of Emeril's Louisiana Real and Rustic has been spot on and delicious. It has been a reliable companion when I want to check on basics like proportions. Anything by Marcel Bienvenu has got to be good. She collaborated with Emeril on the above mentioned book. That is how I got "acquainted" with her. I have what I think is her first book, Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux. It is a delightful glimpse into her family culture and traditions besides having some good recipes.

New question . . . I think it may have been mentioned up-thread but I have to ask, have you ever used fish or been served gumbo with fish in it? I made one once. Why would I do that? Well, as usual, there is a story here. While on a weekend offshore trip way out in the Gulf of Mexico, we landed a tuna . . . a 600 pound tuna! We were able to keep him because we had a large fish bag and a lot of ice on board. We gutted him (that was quite an operation :blink: ) and stuffed him with ice and added more ice to the bag. So we get to the dock on Sunday afternoon and proceeded to look at each other dumbly, "Now what?" When we got to the house, we called a fellow fishy friend that was at his "fishing camp" in Grande Isle, LA. He knows what to do with fish. He suggested taking some steaks off the tail section. For the rest of it, we were instructed to cut the rest of it into slabs no more than an inch thick. Get a big pot like a stock pot and squeeze two or three lemons in there and simmer the pieces until just opaque. (Kills enzymes so it will store longer.) Then package it for the freezer. Luckily another friend brought over his vacuum sealing machine. It was a commercial model since he had had a catering business at one time. We finished up at 2:00am. (We also made a vow to never again boat a fish that big. The next time Charlie bit the bait, he could count on being released. You cannot imagine how much meat is in a fish that big. And the size of those steaks! :wacko: )

You would not think that we would run out of ways to fix the tuna but we were getting close. (It was excellent, BTW.) One day I decided to do a gumbo. I used sausage and about 1/2 by 1 inch chunks of the tuna, adding toward the end as you would shrimp. The fish held together and it was actually delicious. Another time at a friend's house, he made some from chunks of a big King Mackeral he had caught. It was pretty tasty as well.


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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Made my 1st gumbo today and it was delicious. I used the South of I-10 recipe at the start of the thread. I'll post photos and more detail tomorrow, but I wanted to thank you all straight off for the great meal!


What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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It will smoke up the kitchen with a smell that will linger (your choice if it's good or bad), and it's almost impossible to reheat.

With experience, you can reach the upper levels of rouxdom. Just start off slow. The higher the heat, the quicker it will be done, but it's very easy to overshoot your target that way. Don't even pay attention to the clock. It has no real bearing on what is happening in the pan.

My first shot at gumbo was a success! I stood over the roux and stirred for about 20-25 minutes, thinking, It's changing color/No, it isn't/Yes, it is/No, it isn't.....But I got it at the starting edge of mahogany (pot was beginning to send up smoke, but there weren't any black, burned bits), and then threw in the Trinity. After that, it was clear sailing. :biggrin: 'Cept now the apartment smells of roux; not bad, just different.

Purists, skip the rest.....I had to use turkey sausage because I couldn't find anything else, and should've cubed it, maybe, because the halves were kind of large. And, with no cayenne in sight, Hot Hungarian Paprika gave it a decent kick.

Boy, was it good. Thanks to fifi for sharing the "South of I-10" recipe.

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My pot is finally cleared out of the chili that I made for the superbowl, so I will be making my gumbo tonight. I have had some okra in the fridge that I picked up on Saturday, still looks good, and I got the celery and green bell peppers last night.

I will definately use the okra, but I am thinking I will also do a small amount of roux, just because I have never made a roux before, and I am curious to see if the CarbQuick bake mix I have will work for one. I am thinking around 4 TBL of mix to 4 TBL of oil mixed with the thickening power of the okra will work out well.

For the meat I will be using some hot italian sausage (it was on sale, my freezer is full of it), plus some frozen squid rounds (is it still calamari if it isn't breaded and fried?), and maybe some mystery chunks of meat living in the back of my freezer, if they don't smell bad when thawed.

I have some fresh jalenpenos that also need to get used, so, those will most likely find themselves thrown in as well. I'm not sure what I will use for my spice mix. The times I have made gumbo in the past I have tossed in a creole blend that I make including paprika, cayenne, tarragon, thyme, oregano, salt, celery seed, garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, and possibly a couple other things. It has a nice zing and full round flavor, but I wonder if perhaps gumbo might hold up to something a little more intense, so I will see what else I feel likeplaying with when it comes down to it.

I don't have a big heavy steel pot, or a dutch oven, or anything like that. I do have a medium-large non-stick farberware pot that I use for all my soup/stew tasks, hopefully this won't cause issues while cooking my roux of the resultant gumbo.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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      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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