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FEMA Gumbo


highchef
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FEMA Gumbo Recipe

First, have a disaster of some magnitude. Then start cleaning out the freezer when the power goes off. In hindsight, this should probably be done the night before the above disaster, but if you’re an optimist just do it by coleman light.

First. Very importantly, go through the FEMA line and get ice, MRE’s and WATER!!! This is utmost importance, cause when the power goes down, so does the WATER!!! (at least in a BIG emergency).

Second. And this is serious, cause most recipes will start with first make a roux…but this is the second thing cause you had to get the FEMA water first. Remember? So. Make a roux, and make it good, cause the mosquito’s gonna carry your ass away before long. Don’t burn it dammit..just keep it right.

Now, throw in all that cheating stuff you’ve got stuck in the freezer. You know, the trinity they named ‘seasoning blend’. You’ve got it and you use it now, use it or lose it., drop the temp of that roux a bit with that and throw in the carefully made stock you have (yes, I did) or canned crap if you don’t. and add the FEMA water to taste.

In the meantime, you have peeled and deveined (yea, right) any and all of your and neighbors supply of shrimp on hand. And checked freezers for crabs (yup!) and oysters(another yup!) and crawfish. Put the crawfish back…..they are for tomorrow and should never have a part in a gumbo. Period..

With roux, trinity and stock simmering, add seasonings to taste…I like Tony’s, but I always add fresh tarragon to mine. If you don’t have it don’t worry about it. I’m the only Louisiana woman I know who does it anyway.

I’m a lucky woman. I have access to a man who actually makes file’ powder. Put some rice on and put the file on the table.

Honey, if that doesn’t turn you on, on this board, nothing will.

The next day it became…..

More to come..

edit: two beers after the stock, add the shrimp... duh.

Edited by highchef (log)
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One of the most interesting things about the ice that I ended up getting from FEMA, The National Guard, and The Red Cross is where it came from. It was being shipped in from as far away as Canada, Maine, Colorado, and California. Not that I am any kind of shipping genius, but surely there were supplies closer than that. I wish that I had kept a list of all of the places that it came from, but it pretty much covered the US.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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ooh, ooh, can I get some of that file? Seriously, my mom used to get me La Caboose file, I think at Festivals Acadiens, and now she claims she can't find it. I'd love to get my hands on some really well made stuff.

Love the FEMA gumbo recipe, by the way. :wink:

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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ooh, ooh, can I get some of that file?  Seriously, my mom used to get me La Caboose file, I think at Festivals Acadiens, and now she claims she can't find it.  I'd love to get my hands on some really well made stuff.

Love the FEMA gumbo recipe, by the way.  :wink:

I shall try to get a few more jars. I think he's from Cameron, which might make things harder, but I shall try. Give me a week or so. Patty

edit: you can buy file powder in the stores here. Shall I send you some Zaterains'??

Edited by highchef (log)
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Update on the file'...I called the girls in the office and was told the lady who brought the jars to us died in an automobile accident a couple of weeks ago. They are all out down there, so I guess I have the most left. I have another connection that I will try. If he doesn't know how to get the 'good' stuff, no one around here does. Now I'm on a quest!! Results as soon as I get them.

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Now I'm on a quest!! Results as soon as I get them.

Merci, cher! File (possibly Zatarain's) is sold in stores here, but I'm skeptical of its freshness.

And worse than that, in the last few years, I've come across file which is actually sassafras and thyme. I don't know if this is done because thyme is cheaper than sassafras or what, but I was quite UNpleasantly surprised by this once when I'd made a gumbo for 20 people. I like thyme, but I like even more to know what I'm using.

If I could find an artisanal/handmade source, that would be cool.

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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I'd go out and MAKE a stump to process the stuff if I could duplicate the recipe for duck "gumbo" which a Mississippi Delta neighbor made. She was from New Iberia, and the rest of her family down there were in the Tabasco industry.

My Dad was an avid duckhunter, and we always had several dozen little Mallard carcasses lying stacked like bricks in one of our vast freezers. He gave her a few of the ducks, and she invited us for gumbo. We sat down to a beautifully-set table, with no food in sight save an immense bowl of fluffy Uncle Ben's and a basket of warm bread. We were instructed to spoon some rice into our soup plates, and then she headed for the kitchen. She returned with a big white tureen, removed the lid, and a cloud of steam and an unforgettable fragrance wafted into the room.

We were expecting the usual crab and shrimp and okra concoction, but were surprised to see a dark liquid swirling inside the bowl.

She dipped the ladle, and portioned out a stream of deep brown broth into each bowl, followed by a deep scoop into the tureen which brought forth great chunks of the dark rich meat. Little bits of onion floated in the broth, and golden flecks of fat glistened on the quivering surface of the mixture. We dipped our spoons, sipped from the side in our best manner, then cut gently through the pieces to take bites of the melty-tender meat. The grains of rice swirled and danced in the bowl, accompanying each mouthful in a perfect balance of flavor---salty, rich broth and bland rice and the wonderfully-seasoned duck.

I do believe the entire conversation that evening revolved around that dish. We discussed the weather and the hardships of awaiting those ducks, the shooting and the retrieve, the relative fatness re last year's crop. She related the steps in cooking the dish; the poaching at just a bubble, the adding of onion and salt and pepper, the boning process as the stock awaited its additions, the patience needed for the browning of the roux, the final flourish of file' powder.

I had never before heard of file' and her wonderfully-cadenced voice etched "fee'-lay" forever into my eager brain. She told of its origins, its ancient heritage as an herb and a seasoning, the just-right moment to add and the disasters to be expected from a too-quick or too-generous hand. Her directions for making "coo-bee-yone" were exact and easy, though I did not recognize the word later upon seeing it in a cookbook. Then light dawned, and I realized that I had been taught one of the first great lessons in my own long kitchen journey.

We slurped and chewed and learned the history and the reasons and the methods and a lot of family lore and circumstance. And circumstance, it seems, brought the dish into being, as so many dishes fashioned out of to-hand ingredients have come to be a part of our own cooking history.

It was rich and unctuous and tasted of salt and the wild and the woods. The evening was filled with good talk and good food and an indelible memory. I was perhaps thirteen, and we had the dish at home forever after, on cold evenings when a bowl of hot broth and hard-won meat were amply welcome.

And I'd welcome the chance to duplicate that lovely dish; all the duck presses and deglazings and copper pans in Antoine's could not surpass that special mixture of a new dish added to our own family history and legend. I'll order the GOOD file' from the stump-man, should he still be in business; I'll get Son #2 to bring back some ducks from the freezers of the hunters down South when he goes for Thanksgiving, and some night in December, when the Heartland snow is falling, we'll sit down to a New Iberia/Mississippi Delta feast, and I'll tell the gumbo story.

It's worth telling.

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