Saturday, December 29, 2012
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
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)
pot of hot rice
For the Roux:
3 c. cooking oil, canola or vegetable
3 1/2 c. flour
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.