Saturday, December 29, 2012

Smokey Creole Gumbo with Hot Sauce


Big Bowl Eating!

Background on my gumbo making, I have been making gumbo since I was about 17 years old. Let's just say it's been a couple of decades, and no I want tell you my age. I will just say I am way, way, way over 20 years old.

I have been making gumbo roux since I was about 10 years old. Yes, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. But someone had to stir, stir, stir the roux for about an hour and then stir some more. 

In my house growing up, who ever was closest to the pot must stir the roux, and I was always the closest to the pots, there you go. Do I suggest you allow your 10 year old to make roux, probably not, it's hot, it pops and it burns, I have the scars to prove it.

But every gumbo, grease scar (yes, there is a name for it) I have,  happened when I was an adult, lol. I have to say, most children are a lot more cautious and careful in the kitchen than adults. 

I still give baby girl the side eye, when she hands me a knife making sure the knife is pointed away from me and her. I am like, why do you hold the knife that way, she said "mom, because it's the safe way, you should never point a knife at yourself or anyone else."  My baby girl is 14 as of yesterday and it's time for her to stir that roux. 

Watch out, it's hot!
  

It's Gumbo Time, get out your big bowls people. Yes, the red stuff is hot sauce and lots of it.

Yes, Gumbo is suppose to be eaten in the biggest bowl you can find, at least that's how we do it at my house.



Start with loads of fresh vegetables, bell peppers, garlic, onions, celery, and parsley. Don't forget the shrimp, chicken and smoked sausage.

Yes, southerners that is Louisiana smoked sausage.


Dice up all your vegetables and set aside.


Everything gets dumped in the stock pot, except shrimp if your using them, that is the last thing added because we want plump juicy shrimp which means don't over cook them.

The shrimp is added the last twenty minutes of cooking time. After the roux has been added and cooked.


This is my roux almost ready but not quite. Were going for a couple of shades darker, but not burnt. If you burn the roux you must start over, please do not ever add burnt roux to a gumbo, that's like adding imitation crab, you will ruin it.


Final outcome, just pure-d-creole-goodness! Yes say it at one time, the way we do back home. Eat up.

Smokey Creole Gumbo with Hot Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 10-15


Ingredients:

3 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3 lbs chicken breast, chopped 2" chunks
3 lbs smoked sausage
1 pack of smoked turkey, wings, or legs
1 pack dried shrimp
2 bunch green onions, chopped
2 bunch parsley, washed, chopped stems removed
1 white onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
2-49 oz. cans of chicken broth
2-49 oz. cans of water
2 tbsp. creole seasoning
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 c. roux (recipe below)
Hot sauce
pot of hot rice

For the Roux:

3 c. cooking oil, canola or vegetable
3 1/2 c. flour


Directions:

To prepare the roux. Heat oil on medium in a large pot because the oil will splatter to protect yourself. When oil is heated about 5-8 minutes, add flour, whisking very well.

Lower heat to medium-low and whisk until the roux is the color of milk chocolate, right before it reaches dark chocolate. This will take about an hour. Lower heat if roux brown too quickly.

You can not rush roux, low and slow is the key to a great roux. If you burn it start over. It's not worth ruining the whole gumbo. This will make enough roux for two gumbos.

Allow extra roux to cool then place in a freezer bag and freeze it. 

To prepare the gumbo, in a large stock pot, add broth and water. Add all chopped vegetables, add sausage that have been sliced on a diagonal about 1/2 inch slices. Add dry shrimp, smoked turkey and half the seasonings. If you think your sausage might be extremely greasy, slice them and boil them in a separate pot for about 20 minutes to release the oil from them. Then add them to the stock pot. Allow this mixture to cook for about 1 hour on medium heat.

Start preparing your roux while the vegetable mixture cooks.Directions below on how to prepare your roux. After 1 hour, remove smoked turkey from pot, peel off turkey skin and discard, shred turkey meat and add back to the pot. Add the remaining seasonings, add the chicken breast chunks and cooks for 30 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and add 2 cups of the roux mixture and cook for 30 minutes more. Be very careful when adding the roux, it will splatter and burn you.

I put a big spoon in the pot and allow the roux to fall on the spoon first so it slowly hits the hot stock. After adding the roux, put a lid on the pot with a slight vent and this will allow any grease that accumulates to rise to the top of the pot so you can skim it off.

You will not get all the grease off, its OK. Finally, dump the shrimp in that has been peeled and deveined. Let gumbo cook 30 minutes more while you prepare your hot rice and get ready to eat.

Serve with lots and lots of hot sauce.

To properly store gumbo, do not put a lid on the pot, please do not put a lid on the pot after the gumbo is cooked you will spoil it. Transfer gumbo to a large bowl, refrigerate, I repeat do not put a lid on the bowl. Leave the gumbo uncovered overnight to cool down completely.

This is the way I always cool down my gumbo. It will be warm in the refrigerator that is why I transfer it too another bowl, you can also put a cold, damp towel under the bowl so the heat from the gumbo want damage your refrigerator shelf.

If you cover warm gumbo with a lid you will spoil it, yes I know I am repeating myself but you must know this. After the gumbo has cooled overnight, it can be frozen in freezer bags or just eat some more. Only re-heat up what you plan on eating in one sitting.








37 comments:

  1. Just made some gumbo for Christmas, and I've gotta say, next time I'm making my roux the same color as yours. Mine was lighter, and it didn't give that same depth of flavor I wanted. Still, it was darn good--folks ate it up. Thanks for posting this!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the darker the roux, the deeper the flavor. I would say making the roux is the most important part of the gumbo. It surely takes the most time. Low and slow, but it's so worth it. Thank you for your response. And watch out for that hot roux!

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  2. Hey Lisa. Love your blog it always takes me back home. I'm from Louisiana too and I am surprised that you don't put file powder in your finished product. Is there a reason why? I've had it both ways I just wanted to know your reason. Much love.

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    1. Hello GriffCon,
      Sometimes I use file, but I know for sure if you use too much you might as well call your gumbo a stew because it will turn into one quickly (LOL). Sometimes I will throw in a couple of bay leaves as a thickener. I make around 6 different types of gumbo, this one is real smokey. Sometimes I will make it without smoke meat, it just depends on my mood. LOL
      Lisa

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  3. Hi: Recipe and picture look fabulous. I have never made gumbo, but I am from a seafood town and have made many other seafood chowders and bisques. Can you tell me what kind and what size package of dried shrimp? I have never heard of it so obviously I have not used it before. Is it an essential ingredient? Any help would be appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Laxmom,
      Dried shrimp can be found at any Asian store or Mexican grocer store. If you have a Kroger's or specialty market they should sell them. About 3 small oz is standard. Also amazon.com sells them also. Dried shrimp gives the soup a little salty bite but you do not have to use them. Depending on what gumbo I am making sometimes I add dried shrimp and sometimes not. For your first gumbo I would say don't add them therefore you can taste the gumbo without it to know the difference when you do have them available. Please let me know if you have any more questions. You can also add crab to the gumbo, sometimes I add crab claws, I would not use straight lump grab meat but crab in the shell.
      Lisa

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  4. Please answer! Im making this sunday and have 2 questions. 1) why do you add the roux toward the end? 2) does the dried shrimp have the head on? Also, can you do a hush puppie recipe.

    Thank you so much

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    Replies
    1. Hello, I add the roux toward the end because that is the way my mom, aunts and grandma always did it. I am not sure there reasoning behind it. My mom is out visiting me and I just asked her and she said that is the way her mom did it and she never questioned it, lol. No the dried shrimp does not have the head on, there little itty bitty baby dried shrimp. Just add a very small pack, if you can't find them, then don't add them, it will still taste great.

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  5. Sorry, two more questions. 1) if i cut the meat portions to only two pounds each do i decrease the amount of liquid, add can i use only chk broth and no water. 2) if i make this the day before, do i just heat it up on the stove the next day?

    Thank you again. I really enjoy your recipes.

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    Replies
    1. I would not decrease the amount of liquid because you can always freeze the extra liquid and add more meat later. About the broth, I would not add all broth because my seasonings are perfect, LOL..You don't want it to turn out salty because of too much broth. Here is the big key, if you make this the day before....Please, please, please make sure you cool this properly....Here is what I do....I take a big towel, I wet it with cold water, I fold it like I would fold a normal towel and place it in the fridge, I then take my gumbo LID OFF, PLEASE NO LIDS ARE YOU WILL SPOIL IT, then I placed the slightly cooled gumbo, not too cool, I would not let the gumbo sit out too long, it's just too many spices to sit out too long...I place the gumbo on top the towel in the fridge, UNCOVERED, and let it cool overnight....NOTE: NO LIDS, no slightly covered lids, not half lids, no lids...MY sister didn't believe me about the no lids, so she SLIGHTLY covered it with a lid, woke up, GUMBO WAS BUBBLING, LOL...She lost $200.00 worth of meat and seafood, because she didn't listen to her baby sis...LOL...So again, I say NO LIDS..Oh and I will make some hush puppies for you and post them...I love a good hush puppy...Let me know if you have any questions and again...NO LIDS...LOL....Oh, the next day I would not heat up the whole pot of gumbo, Not good....Heat up only what you plan on serving because you can't cool, reheat, cool, reheat..NOPE...Heat what you gonna eat, you can always reheat more later....Make sure you stir it first to blend the flavors, then take some out and heat it up.....I make gumbo all the time and this is my true method....Don't burn the roux, if you do, through it out it will ruin your gumbo....Use a whisk and be careful.....Also,cook it over medium-low heat until it's the color of a Hershey candy bar...I love Hershey's...LOL but that is the color you are going for are a little bit lighter...It's a fine line between perfect roux and burnt roux...Remove it from the heat immediately and you can freeze the leftover roux.

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    2. Thank you so much. I never cook...ever. But on a whim i told my family to come over sunday for family night and i would cook dinner. I think im crazy! Looking at your recipes, i was inspired to do a "creole" themed dinner. But i was thinking it might be better for me to make the gumbo saturday, just so i can spend time with the fam. Im also going to make the crock pot red beans and your brown sugar pound cake. Thanks again. I will let you know how it all turns out.

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    3. Yes, making it early is best, because it's time consuming. I hope you enjoy your dinner.
      Lisa

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    4. Hi Lisa, i made a roux today to test it out and i thought it was perfect until i moved it off the stove and saw a bunch of black specs i did it low and slow for an hour, i was so bummed. If i make the roux the day before i make the gumbo, can i just refrigerate the roux and if so do i add the roux at the same time the recipe calls for and would i need to reheat it? I dont want to risk making it the day of and burning the roux. Also, does the type of pan used matter?

      Thank you

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    5. Yes you can make the roux in advance...You will have enough roux for two gumbos....Freeze the leftover...Make the roux, allow it too cool, stir before using, no need to reheat the roux....I use either a cast iron pan to make roux or stainless steel. Use a whisk and not a spoon to stir it...Also, start the temperature on medium, heat the oil until around 340 degrees, kinda of hot...add the flour little by little until all incorporated...and whisk, whisk, whisk....then reduce the heat to medium low...If you think it's cooking to quickly, reduce the heat even lower...To prevent the burning that happened at the end...I would suggest removing the roux from the heat at least 15-20 minutes earlier because the roux will continue to brown as it sits in that hot pan....Also, you can allow the roux to cool, divide it into two and tomorrow, finish cooking the roux for about 5-10 more minutes, so if you do overcook it....you have a backup roux to try again....I hope this helps...roux is the hardest part of making gumbo...my momma taught me how to make it...and the burns I used to get from popping roux, taught me to respect the roux....It can be a beast...lol...My sisters buy roux...I just can't, I just think it so wrong...they sell it in the store...but how you gonna learn to make it, if you buy it....????I say don't give up, keep trying and you will get it right....the key, low and slow...and the mighty whisk...I was taught to make roux with a spoon....that was the hard way, the whisk gives a nice creamy roux without any lumps...In the beginning I would suggest don't walk away from the pan, but as you make the roux more and more...I do walk away...I can feel the roux when I stir it and no how much longer it needs...you will get there I promise...it's a weird soul thing I think...it's like I don't have to taste my food for seasoning...I can smell it...lol, it's what happens when you cook so much for so long, I think...are I am just weird,lol....But don't give up...you can do it! If you need any help I am here....Once you get this step, your on your way....You can then substitute the oil for butter and then you have a bechamel sauce which can be used for mac and cheese and all kind of other wonderful dishes...And I am getting ready to make hush puppies for you...Coming soon!

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    6. Wow, I can talk...LOL..as my baby girl says, "mom you gotta a lot of words." lol

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    7. I dont mind all the "words" lol, it helps! Thank you, i will try again until i get it right!

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    8. LOL..it's the teacher in me...LOL....UPDATE: My mom is here visiting me, she said "tell them not to listen to everything you say." LOL....she said when you remove it from the stove 10-15 minutes earlier, continue to whisk, until the roux cools down...Momma knows best, so you might want to follow that...

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    9. Hi Lisa, I just want to say that after two bottles of oil and a bag and a half of flour I finally got the roux down- and I even have a burn to prove it lol!. Anyway the gumbo came out great and the roux gave it so much flavor. Thanks again for all the help and advice! It was amazing!

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    10. You have officially joined the Gumbo Club, you have to have popped roux burns to prove it! LOL...I just made hushpuppies, I will post them tomorrow..They were yummy and spicy..I am glad you enjoyed your gumbo...it will get easier every time...Now you can substitute whatever you like because you have the roux down...Shrimp and Chicken gumbo...chicken and sausage...it's so many ways...the key is the roux...

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  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful version. I've made gumbo before but I'm unsure of the number of servings. How many does your recipe serve? It looks soooooooo good!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, servings all depend on who your feeding. My family loves gumbo but I always try to save some to freeze. I would say this post could serve 8-10 normal people, lol and that's getting a second bowl because no one eats just one bowl of gumbo, lol....and it depends on the size of the bowl. In my family we have these things called gumbo bowls and yes they are abnormally, extremely large, bowls or mini pots, lol and I would say that gives you 4 servings with two bowls of gumbo each, lol. I hope this helps.

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  7. We are from Southwest Louisiana, always made my roux from scratch as they would say...I read your receipe---the only thing I never used is chicken broth or stock...
    I grew up on gumbo---duck, chicken, guinea, seafood, chicken and sausage....at 19 I married a rice farmer--I learned to cook by being in the kitchen with his MOM...Living maybe 10 minutes apart, our MOM'S cooked completely different..In the different areas of South Louisiana from the west to New Orleans and about midway of the state the cooking varies so much...in New Orleans, tomatoes and okra are also added (Creole way)...No matter what---IT IS ALL GOOOOOOOOOOOD AND DELICIOUS....

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    Replies
    1. When I was growing up we didn't use stock either...but now that I think about it...the stock was used it was just made in the gumbo...all the chicken, vegetables, spices....I guess I am making a double stock gumbo...lol...Yes, I had gumbo with okra..but the hubby doesn't like okra...lol

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  8. I am making this tomorrow. I went and got everything I need today. I read all the directions and read the part about NO LID then I saw where your OLDER, NOT WISER, sister didn't listen to you. I hear you loud and clear.
    Will let you know how it turns out tomorrow!!
    Thank you for the recipe.
    Vicki Graf

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    Replies
    1. Vicki let me know if you need any help. I will be on facebook or you can post on comments and I will respond.

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  9. I am thinking of making this for Thanksgiving. This will be my first attempt at gumbo and I am terrified of making the roux only because everyone seems to stress about that step. The picture alone is worth the try. *fingers crossed* lol

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    1. You can do IT! Just be careful and if it splatters on you a little...just jump back...I've been there...lol..try making the roux in advance so just in case it burns, you will be o.k...you can refrigerate it for at least a week and freeze for like ever..here is another gumbo recipe on my site. http://creolecontessa.blogspot.com/2013/06/smoked-chicken-and-sausage-gumbo.html

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  10. Thanks for the inspiration and the quick response. The chicken and sausage gumbo looks delicious too but I am in New Orleans, I've got to have seafood in my gumbo. :-) Also, since I want to add crabmeat (real not imitation) to the above recipe, when should I add that ingredient?

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    Replies
    1. Always add crab and shrimp last. I normally add my shrimp the last 20-30 minutes of cooking time. The crab meat if it's in a shell-30 minutes before the gumbo is ready. Out of shell like lump crab meat..I would say the last 20 minutes...oh my that sounds so good!

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  11. It's me again. ^^ I think I'm going to start emailing you with the questions I have. This is just the beginning. :-) I plan to begin shopping for a few of the ingredients I can get ahead of time. You've listed 'creole seasoning' as an ingredient; do you have a brand to suggest? Which creole seasoning do you use?

    Thanks in advance for all of your help. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hello....lol...a lot of times I make my own...but when I don't here is a link to the list....they should all be in your local grocery stores if you're lucky.. http://astore.amazon.com/creolconte-20
      If you use TC..be careful...it's salty....

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    2. Just realized the list is on the bottom of the blog page with pictures...scan down...lol

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  12. Made the gumbo perfect!!! However I put the lid on it and it spoiled. ...lucky it was a tester batch.....I wanted to make it again for christmas but would love to make it a day or 2 before the holiday....so here comes the questions...how will I know its cooled? If it completely cools can I store in refrigerator with a lid...best way to cool? Help please!!

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    Replies
    1. Never put the lid on until at least 24 hours...I allow it to cool in the refrigerator uncovered for at least a day in a half...You can't cool it on the stove top...ever...it's too many spices...after I make the gumbo, I allow it to sit on the stove for about 1 hour of eating time, uncovered. Then I take a big damped towel, fold it in two, place in the refrigerator then sit the uncovered gumbo on top of the towel and allow to cool overnight, preferably a day in a half. I also never allow it to sit the refrigerator no more than 2 days before I freeze it. Make sure the refrigerator is not too full because you need as much cold air to hit the gumbo as possible to cool down quickly. It's safer to throw the gumbo lid away after making the gumbo...lol...I don't think I've ever used the lid once the gumbo is done...hope this helps...

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  13. Thanl you so much! I could noy figure why it was spoiling so quick....I cannot stand to throw away a great meal :-) thank you!!

    ReplyDelete

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I must confess I love great food. I decided to create The Creole Contessa blog after cooking and eating a great meal with my family Big Goo the hubby of almost twenty years and my lil’ Contessa Summer aka “Baby Girl." I told Big Goo and Baby Girl, it is just not fair to not share these great recipes with the world; and the Creole Contessa blog was born.

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