14 November 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 7

I haven't stopped my journey of food exploration...I've just taken a bit of a hiatus lately. This entry is kind of cheating but I'll explain...


Apparently, gumbo is the official dish of the State of Louisiana. Ask 100 people in Louisiana how to make gumbo or what to put in gumbo and you'll get 100 different answers. The thing is, everybody has their own opinion and their own method of making gumbo. Their own recipe...their own idea of what should be included. Case and point--I knew a guy from way down South Louisiana and he put chicken feet and cubed SPAM in his gumbo...no joke. I also know a guy who says it's not gumbo if you don't put okra in it...but I disagree. See, I'm only interested in okra if it's fried and crispy...otherwise it's just slimy and gross. You see my point. Wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining the differences between types of gumbo and all that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumbo.

So technically I have eaten gumbo before but I don't usually eat gumbo because people put some crazy mess in their gumbo (as mentioned above) so if I don't see it prepared, I just can't eat it. Also, I've never made gumbo. I don't know why...it just never occurred to be before. I'm such a failure as a Louisianaian. So this entry sort of fits and sort of doesn't but since I haven't done anything in terms of wacky foods I thought I'd post it. Here's how I made my gumbo...

I started by making roux (oil and flour in a skillet stirred for 800 years until it got dark brown). Then I took 8 cups chicken stock and warmed it in a pot with a few bay leaves. I sauteéd some sausage in a pan until it had a good color. Then removed it from the pan. I diced up a large onion, a pablano pepper, a red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper, a few cloves of minced garlic, and about 4 ribs of celery and sauteéd them in the same pan as the sausage. I added the veggies to the chicken stock along with the sausage. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and gumbo filé. I also added my roux at this point and a tiny bit of kitchen boquet to darken it. I let this simmer for a couple of hours then added some small (peeled, deveined) shrimp. I cooked for another 15 minutes or so. I served over rice.

It was delicious...especially for a first attempt at gumbo! The only change I'll make for next time is to use larger shrimp...I used small shrimp and the shrunk significantly in the cooking process so next time I'll be sure to buy larger shrmip (maybe medium sized).

Thoughts? How do you make your gumbo?

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