Cloudy and drizzly and chilly days make it easy to stay in and cook. Found some frozen shrimp and decided to do a gumbo.I started with about a half cup of flour and poured in oil until it looked like plenty. I’ve seen cooks make a very dry looking roux but I prefer to go with it about like this because I find it easier to keep stirred. A roux is usually defined by its color, this one is past the peanut butter stage and is well on the way to milk chocolate. Keep the temps low and you can get by without standing over it every second but it will take longer. This is about as dark as I care to take it but you can stay with it until it’s much darker if you want.You’ll want a nice stock for your gumbo. This one has an onion, a carrot, a rib of celery, one sliced lemon, parsley, peppercorns, sliced garlic, thyme, and the shells from the shrimp. There are about two quarts of water in it and it’ll simmer for an hour or so.
There are tons of gumbo recipes, with tomatoes and without, with okra or not, with other meats like sausage or chicken. They all have a roux in common, and the trinity of onions, green peppers, and celery in water or stock. Knock yourself out!
I’m happy enough with how my gumbo turns out that I don’t much use a recipe anymore. The fellow over at NOLA Cuisine always gets my nod when someone asks for recipes for these sorts of dishes, be sure to take a tour of his place – click on his recipe page for sure.
This one has genuine Louisiana made Andouille sausage and chicken thighs. (Link goes to a Cajun Grocer’s page.) I ordered one of their turduckens to have on hand for the upcoming holiday.
I always send folks to this page when they ask for a gumbo recipe. It’s for a chicken and sausage gumbo but easily adapts to whatever meat you have on hand. The pictured gumbo has the chicken and sausage, plus precooked shrimp and crawfish tails that were added just at the end to warm through.
Mmm… gumbo. I’ve made this often enough that I was able to put this one together without even glancing at a recipe. We ran across some frozen crayfish tails while were were scouting brisket prices and “we can make gumbo” was the first thing that came to mind.
The general recipe is simple enough: Chop up up the trinity of onions, celery, and green peppers and keep them ready to go, then start a roux and take it to a color that suits you, stirring all the while. I use peanut oil instead of butter, use equal parts flour and oil. A large flat bottom pot and a wooden spatula with a flat tip is the best thing I’ve found for making one although you can do the roux in the oven if you have time.
When the roux is dark enough to suit, stir in the trinity . Season with your favorite spices. Give the veggies five minutes or so to wilt then add your stock. This time I used lamb stock I had on hand but the usual is chicken stock, or shrimp stock. The lamb stock worked great. Bring it to a boil and then simmer.
You are nearly home free, now. Add everything else in its proper time, sausage and chicken can go in early, seafoods go in late. I put okra in this one but that’s optional. Mine came frozen and chopped, I added it to the simmering stock early. It’s said to be a thickener but I really couldn’t say. Adjust your seasonings and serve it with rice.
This starts as a basic gumbo – cook a dark roux with flour and oil, add the Cajun trinity of diced onions, celery, and green peppers. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes then add chicken broth. I browned chicken thighs and fresh chorizo in a separate pan then added those to the simmering broth. The fresh chorizo is where this veers off the normal path. Alas, I had no more Andouille and it really wanted sausage. The recipe uses a homemade seasoning from this recipe. That NOLA site is a goldmine for this style of cooking and you can do worse than spending a while looking over all the recipes.
When the sausage and chicken are cooked through remove them to cool, slice the sausage and strip the chicken meat from the bones and add it all back to the pot. This will take a couple of hours. I did the roux atop the stove on a medium high heat and stirred it constantly lest it burn, using a flat wooden spatula to keep the bottom scraped. That took 20 minutes or so.
We had some duck meat left over from yesterday so I looked around for something to do with it and ran across this recipe. It looked fine and all but I didn’t use it. Thanks for the idea though! I went my usual route with a brown roux (made with duck fat!) and the trinity of green peppers, celery, onion, and a half a bag of frozen okra. I did have tasso in the freezer, my last, so it went in with the diced duck meat. I made a stock from the duck carcass and I could taste just a hint of the sweet orange glaze that still clung to the bits of skin that went into the stock pot. Didn’t hurt a thing. Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning flavored the dish. At the table I added hot sauce to mine – recommended if you are more tolerant than Mrs J!
I was working on this when we decided to make a run to town yesterday, I had the gumbo simmering sans the shrimp – they are added in the last minutes before the stew is ladled into the bowls for the table. We got back and needed to eat because we were both running a little low but I hadn’t made any rice yet. We did the Reuben sammiches and saved the gumbo for the evening meal. This one has Andouille sausage, shrimp, and chicken, and is served over white rice. Add hot sauce to taste. This fellow has some great Cajun recipes, here is a very good gumbo recipe you can adapt to any sort of meat.
I’m getting ready to travel again, so I’m swamped with getting everything done at work and home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate Fat Tuesday with some New Orleans style food and drink. Bring on your party recipes. And next week let’s go vegetarian.
I wanted to do gumbo, but didn’t have time to recipe test anything this week, except a death-by-chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, and I find my own gumbo recipes lacking. Luckily when it comes to gumbo, JeffreyW runs circles around me. Here’s his take on a shrimp gumbo:
I was rummaging about in the big freezer and turned up a stick of Andouille sausage. That put me of a mind to make a pot of gumbo. I noticed that Alton Brown was touting a method of making a brown roux in the oven that seemed to be foolproof, and didn’t require one to stand over the stove stirring for a half hour and more:
Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.
Seemed to work pretty well:
This was after 90 minutes. It could have spent a little longer and been a bit more brown but I went with it as you see it. More or less following Alton’s recipe, I put it over a medium flame on the cooktop and stirred in diced celery, green peppers, and onion. The roux turned right away into thick mud but I kept stirring it until the veggies softened a bit, about ten minutes. Next was several cups (4-5?) of the stock the chicken I used was cooked in, fortified with some Creole seasoning, along with the canned tomato bits I used in lieu of fresh. I did have fresh thyme and even grow my own bay leaves now. That simmered for a half hour before I added the cooked chicken, thawed pre-cooked shrimp, and the sliced and browned Andouille sausage.
Serve over rice, and be sure to have a bottle of hot sauce on the table lest you be taunted.
Hit the comments with your own Mardi Gras recipes and I’ll see you next week! – TaMara
Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice.