Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb 24: Gumbo for Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) where it's the day before Lent. Well... I'm not religious. However, I do enjoy the food and the celebration in New Orleans.

Another dish that's representative of southern Louisiana is Gumbo. Gumbo is essentially a roux based stew. However, that is an understatement to the complex flavors that a properly cooked roux imparts to the dish.

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

1 C Onion, chopped
1/2 C Celery, chopped
1/2 C Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Clove Garlic, minced
3/4 lb Okra, cut into rounds
5 T Butter
5T Flour
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 t Tarragon
1/2 t Cayenne
1/4 t Thyme
1/2 t Cajun Seasoning
1/2 lb Smoked Sausage, cut into rounds
1 Chicken Breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 t Shrimp, shelled and deveined, sprinkled with Cajun seasoning
6 C Stock (I made a ham stock)

The trinity - Onion, bell pepper, celery... plus garlic, butter and flour.

The herbs and seasoning

The meat - sausage, cooked chicken and shrimp.

1. Cook the roux...melt the butter in a heavy pot before adding the flour. Cook over medium about 15 minutes. The flour mixture will darken. The darker the color the nuttier the flavor. Ideally, you want the roux dark... I mean dark like chocolate. I stopped when it was caramel colored. I chickened out... lol.

2. Add the celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook 10 minutes to sweat the vegs.

3. Add the okra. Okra is an interesting veg. When cut, there's a slimy ooze that comes out of the pod. However, when cooked the slime dissipates into the liquid. Add 7 C of stock.
Simmer about 1 hour or more with the lid off.

4. After an hour, add the meat and cook for another 15 minutews=

The Final Dish
Gumbo topped with rice and green onion.
Overall a good result. The ham broth provided a lot of flavor.

Ham Broth (A way to use the extra ham hock from last week)
1 C Onion, chopped
1/2 C Celery, chopped
1/2 C Carrot, chopped
2 Ham Hocks
8 Cups water
3 Buillion cubes, Chicken

Sweat the mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot.)
Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 3 hours.
I acutally used the oven set at 175F and cooked overnight.

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