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Yeah the actual 'protein' parts you add at the end. That doesn't stop you from developing flavor before. Buy shrimp head on and peel em yourself. Chop up gumbo crabs. Make seafood stock with this to cook with. The actual shrimp and oyster 'meat' you add at the end before serving.
The keys for making gumbo are the roux, never letting it boil, and skimming fat.
Like ManyKnives mentioned, you add the protein parts at the end.
I always simmer my gumbo for a good amount of time. I get all my ingredients cut, measured and ready before I start my roux. After my roux is complete I'll put the gumbo together. But I reserve my final proteins for the end. Even if you're adding chicken in there it's likely to be a shredded overcooked mess, so save your final proteins until the end. But, I will add the shrimp head/tails, chicken bones, ham hock, etc.
I would agree that the roux is an important part of gumbo, and perhaps the important part of gumbo. But you also need a good stock for the flavors to really come together. Even if you're using a mediocre stock, for your gumbo, adding things like the shrimp tails, chicken bones, hocks, chicken feet, etc will really add lots of flavor and mouth feel.
Generally I do in the range of a peanut to a brick red colored roux, but depending upon the gumbo, I have been known to also do blonde roux and dark chocolate colored roux as well.
I have never had a bad gumbo (really I have but tryin' to forget lol) and this is the perfect time of year for one.
Have 3-4 peeps throw down their best and fill in the table with potato salads and really good bread and butter.
Maybe light the pit and BBQ a few dozen crabs and grill some ribeyes.....
All that and a few gallons of sweet tea and a cooler full of brew...under the pecan trees in the back yard.
Doesn't get any better.
Except for the mosquitos are still hangin' aground.
If someone will crack enuf pecans I will run inside a make a pie....only takes an hour.....
Send some my way...I'll crack'em for ya
Chris. I see your location has changed...congrats
I made some gumbo yesterday, it had left over meat that was in the freezer...Berkshire pork loin, smoked sausage, swordfish and scallops.
Too often people wait to make gumbo until they have a crowd of people and then make a huge pot. That's all well and good...but a normal gumbo recipe is good for 4-6 people, sometimes with a little left over. If that's too large a quantity for you...Gumbo halves incredibly well! Just match a smaller/narrower pot for the halved recipe.
I make my roux separately, but what I do is sweat my andouille in some oil to flavor up the oil, remove the andouille and saute my veggies in that flavored oil as the base for my Gumbo.
I definitely like my roux on the darker side, going with a brick red color or even slightly darker, although at that point you have to be really careful as it goes from good to burnt in a heartbeat!
While I will use both okra and file powder (not in the same gumbo) as a final thickener I find that I prefer okra. What are your preferences?
I sometimes thicken with gumbo file but you can't let it roll or it will loosen up again. If you keep that file just under a boil to remove that bark taste and bring out the file taste. I garontee!!
I stop cooking most local fish this time of year, we get a red tide down here.