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Chris Amirault

Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3

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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.

Not that you have to have a Le Creuset or something, but I'm pretty sure non-stick coatings are a no-no with dark roux making.

Regarding seasoning, when I made Gumbo this week, I actually used a very limited amount of seasoning. The vegetables were dusted with salt and cayenne pepper before being cooked. I put a few bay leaves in with the stock, and added some grinds of black pepper and some Cajun Power Garlic Sauce (vinegar and garlic more than heat, as compared to regular hot sauce, I had used plenty of cayenne) towards the end of cooking. We had planned to add some Joe's Hot Stuff cajun seasoning, but it really didn't need it. The dark roux has it's own flavor and I think too much herbs and spices cover it up.

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We had planned to add some Joe's Hot Stuff cajun seasoning, but it really didn't need it. The dark roux has it's own flavor and I think too much herbs and spices cover it up.

The real Louisiana sausage from Poche's also reduced the need for additional cajun seasoning or salt. That stuff is pretty well seasoned to begin with.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Hmmm, I have a cast iron skillet I could potentiall cook the roux in, but then that is a greater splatter hazard, plus I am worried about it sticking. Will non-stick make it not work or is it just the supposed dangers of overheating teflon? I personally don't care if this particular pot lives a long and happy life or not, as if it breaks I have a good excuse to buy something better. I'm also not particularly worried about the dangers of teflon fumes or whatever, so, as long as the cooking process will actually work inside of it, I will most likely just use that to only dirty one pot.


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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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.

You, my friend, are taking gumbo back to it's roots. Please let us know how it came out.

My gumbo had to go long as I ended up w/a dozen or mor unexpected guests last night. However, I will be making another on Friday, this time seafood as it is now lent. I shall post pictures if possible. I don't know about oysters as they guy hasn't been around for a while, but I've got my pretty gulf shrimp and am promised some beautiful crab meat. my guy in cameron says they've been catching nice full ones lately so my fingers are crossed. Today is ash Wed. so we're doing crawfish...either etouffee' or creole, probably the former. About the Folse's cookbook, there is another thread somewhere here about it, but the book has been out of print since Before Christmas so I haven't been able to really get my hands on one yet, just lusted at a friends. It's 2nd edition is due out in March and I will be happy to put a copy on the wait list for anyone who cannot get it. I am sure you can get it via internet, but the offer stands if you cannot for whatever reason. Books a million has never had it, but Walden's did for about 5 seconds in December so it's really hit or miss. I have never eaten in his resturant (until this week i thought it was in Lafayette... Lafite's Landing, Lafayette.. duh...) but my niece had a great wedding last may catered by the man, complete w/Albita Springs beer in all it's forms. There are people in New York still talking about that one.

I made potato salad and okra w/sausage and chicken as sides...talk about good.

So, back to gumbo, how did ya'll's turn out?

Edited...there is a link above to Folse's cookbook. I haven't heard from Walden's about it, so that is probably the best way to get one. I'm going to call this morning and make sure, mainly because I was told it would not be out until March... they must have put a rush on it because of demand.


Edited by highchef (log)

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Since we were being such purist here I didn't want to mention all my cheats. I can make a hellofa gumbo in 30 minutes.... but I think cheatin' cajun should be another thread!

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Hmmm, I have a cast iron skillet I could potentiall cook the roux in, but then that is a greater splatter hazard, plus I am worried about it sticking.  Will non-stick make it not work or is it just the supposed dangers of overheating teflon?  I personally don't care if this particular pot lives a long and happy life or not, as if it breaks I have a good excuse to buy something  better.  I'm also not particularly worried about the dangers of teflon fumes or whatever, so, as long as the cooking process will actually work inside of it, I will most likely just use that to only dirty one pot.

Roux doesn't stick. It's liquidy. Yes, I'm worried about overheating Teflon. You may not care about fumes, but you don't want bits of the stuff in your gumbo. Also, I'm not sure it will brown properly in non-stick. Do you have a 3-8 quart soup pot or sauce pan?

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Hmmm, I have a cast iron skillet I could potentiall cook the roux in, but then that is a greater splatter hazard, plus I am worried about it sticking.  Will non-stick make it not work or is it just the supposed dangers of overheating teflon?  I personally don't care if this particular pot lives a long and happy life or not, as if it breaks I have a good excuse to buy something  better.  I'm also not particularly worried about the dangers of teflon fumes or whatever, so, as long as the cooking process will actually work inside of it, I will most likely just use that to only dirty one pot.

Cast iron is fine. There isn't that much splattering, but there will be some steam. And it won't stick. It's half oil. You would be heating the teflon to something like 350-400 degrees, which I believe teflon can handle. Baking pans with teflon go to 450+. And it browns just fine in the teflon. I use it.

Use a wooden spatula - I can't emphasise how much you want to use a wooden utensil, or at least metal with a non-conductive handle. Otherwise you have a 350 degree peice of metal in your hand at the end of it. I like to use a whisk when adding the liquid after the trinity is added. I think it distributes the roux more evenly, removing any chance at lumps. But that's only after the liquid has been added.


Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)

Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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As far as a roux pot goes, a heavy bottom stainless lined pan will do nicely. For example, many people have an old revereware 8 qt. and those will do nicely. Non stick will not get you what you want, colorwise. Also, those little chunks that invariably end up sticking to the bottom of the pan mean alot as far as flavor goes, you would not get those with non stick.

The John Folse book was only available in the New Orleans area, as far as I know, at some independent stores and at Barnes and Noble on both sides of the lake. There were big piles of them that lasted, basically, a couple of days. I told some people that the book was available on a Friday, and that there were about 30 copies left in the B and N on Veterans in Metairie, and by Sunday afternoon they were all gone. The books that are ordered through his website cost a bit more, I think, but they are all signed copies (or at least they were, they may not be this time around).

It is published by Folse's Publishing Company (the guy is a business whiz, so self publishing seems like another extension of his many business ventures) and I suppose that has something to do with why some chains have it and some don't. It's worth the trouble though. I highly reccomend it, if for no other reason than that it is a beautiful book and the artwork and storytelling are worth the price. The recipes and techniques almost seem like lagniappe.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Allright, dammit, I just can't resist any longer :raz:. Will be trying this recipe for seafood gumbo tonight. My only problem is that I need to vastly reduce the quantities because I'll only be feeding myself and maybe one other. I'm concerned about non-linearities in the recipe, despite the author's remarks to the contrary. Will probably try a 1/4 scale, and I know not everything can be just divided by 4. Any advice from you folks with more experience? TIA.

THW


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

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The only measurements I've ever followed for gumbo is the 1:1 ratio of oil (peanut for me) to flour. after the roux it's just how you like it. My seafood gumbo cost a fortune because I fill it up. That recipe looks to make about 6 quarts. I think the roux is light for so much seafood and stock so keep those measurements if you quarter everything else. I don't like tomatoes and I prefer file to okra, unless I'm wanting okra gumbo specifically, and then I just use shrimp (no crabs or oysters) a regional thing I'm sure. If you don't have shrimp seafood stock, Knorr's makes a fish buillion that is better than nothing.

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The only measurements I've ever followed for gumbo is the 1:1 ratio of oil (peanut for me) to flour. after the roux it's just how you like it. My seafood gumbo cost a fortune because I fill it up. That recipe looks to make about 6 quarts. I think the roux is light for so much seafood and stock so keep those measurements if you quarter everything else. I don't like tomatoes and I prefer file to okra, unless I'm wanting okra gumbo specifically, and then I just use shrimp (no crabs or oysters) a regional thing I'm sure.  If you don't have shrimp seafood stock, Knorr's makes a fish buillion that is better than nothing.

Thanks for the advice. I thought the roux looked a little skimpy too, but what do I know. I'll fill this one up, given the scale of course. I try to persuade my wife that you just have to spend money to try new things until you get it right, so I'm not too worried about the expense :raz:. Thought I'd try 1/2 lb shrimp, 6 or 8 oysters, and 1/2 lb or so of crabmeat. Haven't decided whether or not to put in any blue crab still in the shell. I live about 50 miles from Chesapeake Bay, so good seafood isn't a problem. I'll make the shrimp stock first (from shrimp with heads still on), then chop the mise so I'm in gear when the roux is done. Any other advice or pointers would be most welcome. If I don't screw this up, I'll report back on how it turned out. If I do, well, just forget you know my name :laugh:.

THW


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

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I only see two challenges to cutting down this recipe and they are not huge. That small a quantity of roux will be hard to do in a pot of any size. It won't be deep enough to get stirring action. But then you aren't trying to get to the dark stage. You may find it easier to do the roux and trinity in a smaller cast iron or other heavy skillet separately.

The other thing I see with the recipe is that that is not very much roux for that quantity of stock. It is probably one of the thinner varieties. If you go a little bit heavier on the roux you won't be straying far from the norm.

The other problem is the trinity. I hate it when veggies are given quantities like "2 green bell peppers." Sheesh. Those things go from honkin' huge to green nubbins. And an imbalance in bell pepper in your trinity has serious flavor implications. My suggestion is to take a look at the volume measurement I gave for the chicken and sausage and its ratio to the volume of stock. You won't go wrong. I ended up with those quantities by surveying dozens of "authentic" recipes and that ratio is about the median. (As I recall, I surveyed something like 40 recipes and even set up a spreadsheet complete with graphs illustrating the ranges. Yes. I am a geek.)

I happen to like tomato in my seafood gumbo from time to time. It is particularly good if you use the okra. You may want to give it a whirl.


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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That small a quantity of roux will be hard to do in a pot of any size. It won't be deep enough to get stirring action. But then you aren't trying to get to the dark stage....

The other thing I see with the recipe is that that is not very much roux for that quantity of stock. It is probably one of the thinner varieties. If you go a little bit  heavier on the roux you won't be straying far from the norm.

The other problem is the trinity. I hate it when veggies are given quantities like "2 green bell peppers." Sheesh. Those things go from honkin' huge to green nubbins. And an imbalance in bell pepper in your trinity has serious flavor implications. My suggestion is to take a look at the volume measurement I gave for the chicken and sausage and its ratio to the volume of stock. You won't go wrong. I ended up with those quantities by surveying dozens of "authentic" recipes and that ratio is about the median. (As I recall, I surveyed something like 40 recipes and even set up a spreadsheet complete with graphs illustrating the ranges. Yes. I am a geek.)

I happen to like tomato in my seafood gumbo from time to time. It is particularly good if you use the okra. You may want to give it a whirl.

I think I'll just leave the quantity of roux full bore and that should solve that problem. When I first read the recipe, it struck me as not much.

I'll try the volumes you suggested in the chicken and sausage. I too get frustrated when somebody tells me to use two onions. I can make anywhere from 3/4 cup to 2 cups from that depending on the onions :raz:.

I'm a tomato and okra guy all the way. Both are already bought. I'm just waiting to run to the seafood market for the shrimp, oysters and crab. All else is already on board...and my cooking fingers really have the itch :wacko:.

THW


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

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The only measurements I've ever followed for gumbo is the 1:1 ratio of oil (peanut for me) to flour. after the roux it's just how you like it. My seafood gumbo cost a fortune because I fill it up. That recipe looks to make about 6 quarts. I think the roux is light for so much seafood and stock so keep those measurements if you quarter everything else. I don't like tomatoes and I prefer file to okra, unless I'm wanting okra gumbo specifically, and then I just use shrimp (no crabs or oysters) a regional thing I'm sure.  If you don't have shrimp seafood stock, Knorr's makes a fish buillion that is better than nothing.

Thanks for the advice. I thought the roux looked a little skimpy too, but what do I know. I'll fill this one up, given the scale of course. I try to persuade my wife that you just have to spend money to try new things until you get it right, so I'm not too worried about the expense :raz:. Thought I'd try 1/2 lb shrimp, 6 or 8 oysters, and 1/2 lb or so of crabmeat. Haven't decided whether or not to put in any blue crab still in the shell. I live about 50 miles from Chesapeake Bay, so good seafood isn't a problem. I'll make the shrimp stock first (from shrimp with heads still on), then chop the mise so I'm in gear when the roux is done. Any other advice or pointers would be most welcome. If I don't screw this up, I'll report back on how it turned out. If I do, well, just forget you know my name :laugh:.

THW

Let us know how that goes! I don't know why but I use crabs in the shell in a crab stew but picked meat in a gumbo. And the crab stew is basically the same recipe as gumbo only thicker and with less stock or water.


Scorpio

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

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Here's my fat Tuesday fun... this really was a great experience. I'm glad for the excuse to try it out. I used the South of I-10 recipe posted by Fifi at the very start of this thread.

First, I purchased my veggies and meats at the local butcher. My butcher local specializes in sausage and he had some beautiful Andouille, even though he couldn't quite pronounce it correctly. (French words with cheesehead accent = funny).

I apologize for the slight fuzziness in some of my pictures. I had problems getting my lighting right. At any rate, here's the belle of the bowl.

gallery_12562_75_584409.jpg

I searched through an entire warehouse sized grocery store for commercially bottled roux. No dice. I had to go it on my own. You know, there are a lot of places in a large grocery where it might be. With the gravy, with the BBQ sauce, with the "foreign foods" sauces, with the boullion... Nada.

Back at the ranch, I chopped my trinity then selected my pot (a le Creuset 5 qt.), and cleverly had my my accomplice Dora (she's an explorer) distract my 5 year old son. He was blissfully unaware of the "cajun napalm" about to be unleashed in the next room. Here's the trinity, note my wonderful eGci knife skills. (or not) I should also mention that I cut the recipe in half as we aren't big eaters.

gallery_12562_75_182031.jpg

The roux came together beautifully, though I had to let it be a bit blonde as I only had 30 minutes stir time. Not due to lack of intestinal fortitude, I feel compelled to explain, I had to pick up a kid from school and that's the way the chips fell. It's kind of a zen experience, stirring the roux. I rather liked it.

Here's the mix, after the trinity was stirred in and the sausage was added. Not as dark as it might be, but still smelled wonderful.

gallery_12562_75_553465.jpg

And the bubbling cauldron.

gallery_12562_75_710799.jpg

And finally, a few hours later, the finished product. I couldn't find any Abita, we settled for Boddingtons, which went down very well even though it's Brittish.

gallery_12562_75_370600.jpg

We ate this with a skillet cornbread and cottage cheese topped with pears. Mmmm mmm.

The smell was wonderful, the taste was great. For a Northern girl I feel like I did myself proud. Thanks again for the inspiration. This is definitely a dish I'll make over and over. I can't wait to try out the seafood version.

edited to fix image problems


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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Cusina . . . THAT is a mighty fine looking gumbo. You did yourself proud. That sausage looks really good. Your butcher may not know how to pronounce it but he seems to have the texture spot on.

Just for info, I did find a package of Tony Chachere's andouille at the Kroger's yesterday. The texture looks similar to Cusina's picture. I also checked out the Aidelle's and Emeril's brands (though they were out of Emeril's andouille if they ever had it) and the texture is finer than I would like.

I had to search through the pile to find the one package of Chachere's andouille. Is there a run on the stuff? Now that I have it I am wondering what to do with it. I really don't want to do chicken and sausage. I did that the last three times around. Maybe I will go to one of the fish markets here over the weekend for inspiration.


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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Cusina . . . THAT is a mighty fine looking gumbo. You did yourself proud. That sausage looks really good. Your butcher may not know how to pronounce it but he seems to have the texture spot on.

Just for info, I did find a package of Tony Chachere's andouille at the Kroger's yesterday. The texture looks similar to Cusina's picture. I also checked out the Aidelle's and Emeril's brands (though they were out of Emeril's andouille if they ever had it) and the texture is finer than I would like.

I had to search through the pile to find the one package of Chachere's andouille. Is there a run on the stuff? Now that I have it I am wondering what to do with it. I really don't want to do chicken and sausage. I did that the last three times around. Maybe I will go to one of the fish markets here over the weekend for inspiration.

how about jambalya? pick up a hunk of ham to go in it.

btw Cusina, I think you did a great job on the gumbo.


Edited by highchef (log)

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I am thinking about getting some shrimp and doing a small pot of gumbo and another small pot of patti's etouffee from here. That will give me an excuse to see if I can extend my "scaled down cooking" exercise to gumbo and etouffee.


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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Cusina, your andouille looks fine, but I've got to say, the one we got at Poche's in LA is just amazing. Huge pieces of meat in casing. I should have taken a picture of just the andouille. Brooks, if you get a chance, get a picture of one of those in cross section, OK? Better yet, mail me one and I'll do it. :wink:

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Cusina, your andouille looks fine, but I've got to say, the one we got at Poche's in LA is just amazing. Huge pieces of meat in casing. I should have taken a picture of just the andouille. Brooks, if you get a chance, get a picture of one of those in cross section, OK? Better yet, mail me one and I'll do it. :wink:

Rachel, I'm not Brooks, but I have a shipment of andouille from Jacob's in LaPlace due in Friday sometime. Their andouille also has very large pieces in it, and I'll be glad to post a picture after it arrives, or send it to you, whatever you like.


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

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Hey all,

I have just gotten home from work and started my gumbo adventure!

First up is the trinity: around a pound and a half of okra (can't see it, it is on the bottom of the bowl), two green bell peppers, five or six stalks of celery, and a giant spanish onion:

trin.jpg

I browned around 3 lbs of Italian sausage, half hot, half sweet in my pot:

saus.jpg

Then I started with the roux, fully expecting to be stirring for half an hour:

roux.jpg

Well, it got to that state in about a minute and a half. As soon as I detected a burning flour smell I dumped in the trinity, figuring it was done, looks dark enough anyway. That is four tablespoons of oil and four tablespoons of carbquick bake mix.

The veggies are now cooking down in the roux over lowish heat so that I will have room in the pot for everything else.


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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Dude, if it got to that state in a minute and a half, you burned it. Dump that horrible mess out and start over. Chop yo veggies up again, yankee!

Carbquick bake mix? What the hell kind of a communist tree hugger roux base is that? Flour man, Flour!

THE MADNESS! THE MADNESS!


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Cusina, your andouille looks fine, but I've got to say, the one we got at Poche's in LA is just amazing. Huge pieces of meat in casing. I should have taken a picture of just the andouille. Brooks, if you get a chance, get a picture of one of those in cross section, OK? Better yet, mail me one and I'll do it. :wink:

Rachel, I'm not Brooks, but I have a shipment of andouille from Jacob's in LaPlace due in Friday sometime. Their andouille also has very large pieces in it, and I'll be glad to post a picture after it arrives, or send it to you, whatever you like.

Ooh, goody, you're going to mail me an andouille? Yay! :raz:

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Dude, if it got to that state in a minute and a half, you burned it. Dump that horrible mess out and start over. Chop yo veggies up again, yankee!

Carbquick bake mix? What the hell kind of a communist tree hugger roux base is that? Flour man, Flour!

THE MADNESS! THE MADNESS!

I have to 2nd this, what is carbquick? and when it smells burnt, it is burnt. If I use okra I usually sautee it a bit first (less ropy). Veggies are way too big, where's the celery and the bellpepper? If you're worried about carbs, remember a cup of flour in a whole pot of gumbo isn't really that much. I just don't think that's gonna work. I hate for you to waste a bunch of stuff, but I don't want you to make a gumbo that's gonna make you hate gumbo. curious-are those italian sausages???? Man this is a tough crowd, huh?

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made my chicken and andouille gumbo yesterday and let it "mellow" in the fridge overnight. just had some and all i can say is not bad though with some alternations from what i consider standard.

for the roux: 1/4 cup duck fat and 1/4 cup wondra flour. took about 35 minutes to bring it to mahogany color over medium/medium high heat.

in went 1 large onion, 1 each red and green bell pepper, 4 garlic cloves sliced.

2 tsp thyme, 2 tsp basil, 2 tsp oregano, 2 Tbsp file powder.

1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs, cut up and browned

1 lb andouille sausage peeled, split in half and chunked

an hour at a simmer then cool down and into the fridge.

i chickened out on using okra since john can taste it two states away so contented myself with chopped pickled okra on mine.

today when i was refilling the bird feeder the carpenter rebuilding my neighbor's house asked me WHAT was i cooking the day before because it smelled so good it was driving them nuts as they were siding. :shock:


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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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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