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How do you Gumbo?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I love love love Gumbo!

I have never been to Louisiana, but I still just love a bowl of gumbo. I've had gumbo at a good number of different places and while some are better than others, all are good. But I've never had two bowls of gumbo that were the same.

I make mine similar to this gumbo recipe at the John Folse website. About the only differences are that I don't use mushrooms and I'll hit the pot with some Filé after it's finished cooking.


I would love to hear (and to try) your recipes!

thanks!

dan
post #2 of 54
This is one of my favorite winter meals


Crock-pot Gumbo

1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cooking oil
4 cups water
12oz fully cooked smoked sausage links, sliced
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups sliced okra
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Hot cooked rice

For roux, in a heavy 2-quart saucepan stir together flour and oil till smooth. Cook over medium-heat heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly, Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir constantly about 15 minutes more or until a dark, reddish brown roux forms. Cool.

Add the water to your crock-pot. Stir in roux. Add remaining items. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10-12 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 ½ to 5 hours. Skim off fat. Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.
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post #3 of 54
If you make everything in one pot you wont lose as much of that subtle nutty flavor from the roux, and if you make it in the oven you can achieve a darker roux without running the risk of burning it. Heat the roux over medium heat and whisk only until homogenous, then bake in the oven at 350, stirring occasionally. Granted this takes much longer and is only really applicable for larger batches.
post #4 of 54
this is a takeoff between Paul Prudhommes and John Folse......

cook plump hens in a stock pot until tender
equal parts veg oil and flour, typically about 3/4 cup of each....I eyeball it....
in a large pot stir with a whisk until red brown, takes 20-30 minutes typically

Add Tony Chacere which is a staple in most Louisiana homes, cayene or chipotle, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, black pepper....


Add celery, onion, red bell pepper all diced

cook for a couple of minutes then add the chicken stock and torn pieces of chicken, andouille.....cook another 15 + minutes to meld the flavors....
serve over rice, topped with crystal hot sauce and parsley/scallions optional.

Just made a couple of batches recently, darn good.
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post #5 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions all! I'll give them a try.



I wish andouille sausage was easy to get where I live, most stores rarely stock it at all :mad: No matter. With the weather around Chicagoland in January I'll be sure to make a pot of gumbo a couple of more times.

dan
post #6 of 54
Look around, do some research on yellowbook.com for a charcuterie ill bet you can find some quality sausage.
post #7 of 54
i have found a very good spot for gumbo....ragin cajun, or good co. seafood.
post #8 of 54
Where de seafood? It ain't gumbo wit out no shrimps or bugs or nut'n'. Roux first, file last and the middle is catch as catch can, 'ceptin dey's always some okra.

Beer,
BDL
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post #9 of 54
BDL, not all gumbos have seafood in them. One of the more traditional gumbos "gumbo z'herbes" does not contain seafood and I know many a chicken and andouille gumbo recipe that does not contain any seafood. As for the okra vs. file powder arguement, so gumbos contain okra and some use file powder but the general rule is you only use one or the other, never both, according to tradition.
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post #10 of 54
To each his own.

Every man a king,
BDL
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post #11 of 54
Pete, you're absolutely right. The Cajun folks who taught me how to make gumbo out in the swamp country stressed that point: you use okra, or you use file'. But you don't use both. If using okra, it goes in as part of the stew. File' is only used at the end (because it gets stringy if cooked too long). Usually, each diner adds file' to his own bowl.

You're also right about the seafood. While seafood can contribute to other gumbos, it certainly isn't required, nor always found. If any of my Cajun friends ever heard this line, "It ain't gumbo wit out no shrimps or bugs or nut'n'," he'd be wondering who was writing cookbooks for tourists.

Other than the roux, there are no rules to what goes into a gumbo. Anyone who's spent any time in the swamps knows this. Cajuns use whatever is available---which is the whole point. To say this or that is required for something to be a gumbo is an affectation, not a fact.
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post #12 of 54
okra or file generally are used with seafood gumbo......it's unusual to find tomatoes but Mr.B's had them in their seafood gumbo.

The only caveat worth knowing about seafood gumbo, is to prepare the soup and add the shellfish just prior to serving so the oysters, shrimp and crab are not overcooked.

Bruce Aidells is on CT for a couple of days, now is a good time to ask him about either making andouille or what he'd recommend in Chitown.
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post #13 of 54
The question as set before us in the OP is how we personally like our (resepective) gumbo -- not the ingredient list for true gumbo. My first post here was intended to be humorous. After rereading it, I think the "style" made the intention clear. I'm surprised it's generated a discussion on what is and is not permissible.

In point of fact, I do sometimes make gumbo and have yet to make it the same way twice. While I love seafood, I don't consider it essential and neither do I consider the lack of okra and file in combination to be fatal. For that matter, neither is their combination a fatal heterodoxy. In fact, high-end cajun (contradiction in terms?) seafood gumbos are frequently made with all three thickeners, combining light roux with roped okra and file. It may not be purely traditional but the idea and execution have been around at least since American food started go grow up in the late sixties and early seventies.

I'd always understood that generally, gumbo was one of those things made to use what was around. As far as I'm concerned there is no single quintessential gumbo, no single right way, and a lot of the wrong ways can end up pretty well.

Laissez le bon ton roulez
,
BDL

PS. File is ground, dried sassafrass. It is added when the gumbo is finished, and doesn't get stringy. Okra, on the other hand, does. One good way to prevent the strings from forming, is to barely cook the okra separately, reserve, then add to the gumbo about five minutes before service.
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post #14 of 54
Exactly.....thank you for elaborating. Gumbo like jambayla are cajun food stretchers if you will......the laid back attitudes and gregarious hospitality of Southern Louisiana, especially Cajun Country mean that there's a lot of entertaining happening. If you go back and read Paul Prudhomme's cookbooks you'll see that their family of 15 lived off the land. It was not unusual for any of the 13 kids to invite friends over for meals....
One thing that's stuck with me is that his family would put a scoop of potato salad instead of rice in gumbo bowls. His mama's yeast rolls are still my favorite for "downhome meals".

I lived in southern Louisiana for 15 years, there are no hard rules when it comes to cooking. Cajun is very much a "home cooks" style....whatever you have around can be used. Creole is New Orlean's high end cuisine and different...much more formal....oysters rockefeller, beinville, eggs sardou....vs jambayla.
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post #15 of 54
Thread Starter 
Yum yum yum!

Thanks for the discussion :)

I've currently got some Bruce Aidells andouille sausage defrosting right now. As I stated, in my general area we rarely have andouille sausage in the stores. We do have a number of choices for local made sausages, but most are very mild polish sausages. I've decided to just make a bit of a drive every once in a while and buy enough andouille to throw in the freezer (why should sausage be any different from the drive I make for tomatoes, eggs or pork)


I will use okra in my gumbo every once in a while...but File' powder just really completes a bowl of gumbo for me. I wish I could but my finger on what it does to the flavors...it's just one of "those" things for me. Thanks a bunch all!

Choo Choo Ch-Boogie,

dan
post #16 of 54

Gumbo

IMHO a good gumbo is a labor of love. When I make it at home its made around my first beer of the day schedule. This is the most important factor. My Roux is a two beer Roux. First, while i'm stirring the Roux I am drinking the first beer. The second beer is to measure the color of the Roux next to the beer bottle. When the Roux matches the color of the bottle the Roux and is a nice medium chocolate brown its done. The second factor is a nice chicken broth. I also put in tomatoes that I froze from the garden. I put in all the spices that are in all the other posts. I feel any sausage that is used in any recipe should be able to stand alone when you eat it. What I mean is, it should be a sausage that you get a lot of flavor and is good quality.
I make a dish that is cajun sausage blackened chicken linguini and the sausage is an important factor. Whats funny about Gumbo is, if you ask 100 chefs how to make it, you will get 100 different ideas..........................Take care .......Bill
post #17 of 54
Thread Starter 
It would be nice to eat a perfectly roasted chicken every time. It would also be nice to have a wonderfully marbled prime Ribeye whenever I sat down for a steak dinner. But boy oh boy would this world be a poorer place if every bowl of gumbo tasted the same.



Thanks for your suggestions,

dan
post #18 of 54
Thread Starter 
On the subject of andouille sausage...

I made a pot of gumbo yesterday (which turned out pretty good :) ) and used the Bruce Aidells andouille. Because it was a chicken product instead of a pork sausage I was a little concerned that it would be too fine a grind. But both the flavor and texture was nice. But it still wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

That being said, I'm still getting the itch to have some Jacob's Cajun sausage. It's just those shipping charges. Still, I may get five pounds shipped and see how bad the shipping charges are.


enjoy the gumbo!

dan
post #19 of 54
Hey Dan, I am out in the Pacific Northwest and they wouldn't know a good sausage if you hit them in the head with it. I am from the Eastern seaboard, I miss the great polish sausage, Italian sausage in New England. I really think your right about Jacob's sausage. I think that may be a good sausage to heat, throw on a bun with a swipe of good mustard. I wonder, The casing looks a bit thick, like you would get a snap on it when eating in a gumbo. I see sausage as a work of art. If you find a good one, you are getting the end result of someones hard work and years of trying. take care.....Bill
post #20 of 54
@okra vs. file
I believe the original idea was to use okra when it was in season, and sassafras when okra was not in season. But that was way back when there was no refrigeration, no flash freezing, and the like. Sorry, no footnotes, just a hazy memory. :lips:

@gonefishin
I'd post my recipe but it's one that I converted into a huge amount (12 cups roux, 36 chicken thighs, etc) so I doubt it'd be useful. I used this guy's site as a springboard for the gumbo (LINK). I think you may like the site, I've had it bookmarked for a few years now and keep returning to it when it gets close to Fat Tuesday (SOOOOON!!!!!!:lips::lips::lips:).
That link also has sausage recipes if you're feeling really ambitious.

There is good sausage here in the PNW, it's just not easy to find...
I'm about to try my hand at making some in the near future.
post #21 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info bbay! I'll defintly be spending some time at NoLA cuisine :)


take care,
dan
post #22 of 54
[quote=bbay;256530]@okra vs. file
I believe the original idea was to use okra when it was in season, and sassafras when okra was not in season. But that was way back when there was no refrigeration, no flash freezing, and the like. Sorry, no footnotes, just a hazy memory. :lips:

Actually the choice has more to do with cross-culture influences than season. File powder (sassafrass) as a seasoning is Choctaw. Okra is African. Amer-Indian and Afro-American influences run almost as strong as Acadian in Cajun cuisine.

BDL
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post #23 of 54
I don't understand your response. Are you saying that gumbo was not made by Afro-Americans in the off-season because they only use okra in gumbo? I'm sorry, but I can't tell if you are disagreeing with me or just elaborating. I may just be reading it wrong.
I guess it doesn't really matter.:lips:

Aye. A lot of Spanish too.

I've heard said that the file powder you buy in the market is full of bay leaves. I know that the last jar I bought was junk. No idea what it was, I guess it could have passed for a jar of powdered sage that had been sitting in a window sill with the lid slightly ajar for 2 years. I'd like to try it with legitimate leaves some day.
post #24 of 54
It's easy enough to make your own, bbay. Sassafras grows everywhere, and can't be mistaken because the leaves grow in three different shapes. Plus as soon as you crush one you get that wonderful aroma.

One nice thing about file' is that you use the leaves, which can be harvested without harming the tree; whereas medicinal uses of sassafras involve harvesting the roots.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #25 of 54
I wish more than anything else that I would be paid to take a sabbatical in the southern states. Well, maybe more like 4 or 5 sabbaticals. :lol:
Anyhow, I would be happy to trade you pine cones for sassafras leaves, pound for pound.
That was a joke.

The leaves don't grow so freely here. I should just special order some though. Actually, it's on my list for things to do today now.

I am envious of your local, KYHeirloomer.


and then to get back on topic (I feel like a hi-jacker)

Gumbo is good, but this year I'm going to axe the Muffuletta. Too much effort. My local baker did a great job emulating the loaf, but it is just too hard to make it to order. Plus I was using expensive cuts.
I'm going to tackle a po' boy this year. Just beef.
And the gumbo will be good because I will make sure that the person making it will use a dark roux, but they will use frozen okra and and...
no one will know, or care.
but I will.
post #26 of 54
Just thought I would add my two cents in after reading all of the interesting comments made above. There is definitely no single correct way to make a pot of gumbo. It is more a type of food rather than a particular dish. Just look around at how many different combinations of ingredients exist when it comes to making gumbo, not to mention how wide spread it is around the country. You definitely don't need to travel to Louisiana anymore just to get a good bowl of gumbo.

Of course, you don't have to add seafood to be classified as gumbo, but how can one pass on all the wonderful seafood down here when it is in season. Not that chicken and andouille (a.k.a. gumbo ya-ya) isn't also a favorite in Louisiana, but there is a good reason for it. We don't like the cold too much so when the temperatures drop who wants to be jumping in the water chasing critters. Also, when it gets cold all of the okra plants die off. So after the first freeze of the year any okra you find is coming from California where the weather is beautiful all year. So back in the days when gumbo was being born there wasn't much produce being shipped in from the west coast. That is where filé came into play. Filé came to be used when okra was not available. That is why not too many recipes exist that have both okra and filé. But if that's the way you like it, then more power to you.

When it comes to the cajuns, they aren't the only source when it comes to gumbo. I'll give them credit for étouffée, jambalaya, and dirty rice. But when you look at all the components of gumbo, all the signs point to New Orleans. Not that cajuns can't make a mean pot of gumbo, they just do it a little differently sometimes. And remember, different never means wrong when it comes to gumbo.
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Gumbo In The Pot
How To Make Incredible New Orleans Gumbo
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Gumbo In The Pot
How To Make Incredible New Orleans Gumbo
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post #27 of 54
On a trip to New Orleans a few years ago. I enrolled in a four hour class on Gumbo and its preperation. The main thing seemed to be the making and cooking of the roux. Cooked for a long time in what I thought was a cast iron wok type pot while stirring. The Chef Instructor pointed out the differences in gumbo;s and the reason everyone is different, is because evryone cooks the roux differently and to different stages of doneness. True secret seems to be the slow correct browning of the roux without any scorching or burning.
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post #28 of 54
That is true. Definitely can't burn the roux. I've seen people make roux a number of different ways. As long as you don't burn it, any method is fine.

Just another interesting fact. The black population in New Orleans largely uses little or no roux at all when making gumbo. That gives one more way that gumbo can be made. So it is not always a thick soup.
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Gumbo In The Pot
How To Make Incredible New Orleans Gumbo
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Gumbo In The Pot
How To Make Incredible New Orleans Gumbo
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post #29 of 54
Hello all, I just made a Gumbo today and my Roux wouldn't thicken. I used one cup oil and one cup flour. I put it on medium heat and watched it close stirring as I go. The Roux was getting darker and darker but never thickened. I was getting a bit pissed so I poured off some of the oil and put in some raw flour to salvage this monster. I got everything into a nice paste/Roux and poured in my Chicken stock...............The Gumbo came out ok, but not my normal good one....Why is it I'm having trouble with the Roux??????????????? thanks for the help.....Bill
post #30 of 54
The "darker" the roux, the less the "thickening power", you really need to use "weights" rather than "volume", in general, 1 "cup of flour" is 4 1/2 to 5 ounces while a "cup of oil" is closer to 8 ounces, to me, you used too much oil.

Next time, try 5 ounces of each and see if that doesn't produce better results?
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