2007-09-15

Gumbo Recipe with no measuring

I have been going to message boards where someone will ask for a gumbo recipe and no one will give it to them. It is a "creole" secret and they don't want people messing it up. Well number one, there are a ton of different ways to make gumbo. How I make it, might be completely different than someone else. I am using my mother and grandmother's recipe. Yes I am from Texas, but my mother's side of the family is from Lousiana, and might I add I was born in Beaumont, TX close to the Louisiana border, and is considered part of Cajun country, so I got at least three different recipes to go by, but I give you the non measurement recipe my momma uses.

Here is what I use for the recipe, this link

http://www.gumbopages.com/food/gumbo.html is right on the money for the most part, I have a little bit of different stuff my family does, which I will share with you.

The roux is the trickiest part, if you can do this, you have won half the battle. Cook this stuff on medium high and keep stirring. At some oil and flour in a skillet (cast iron preferably) like you are making gravy, my grandmother's and momma secret here is to add some flavouring to the roux, a little bit of the stock you will be making and some salt and pepper. When you get to the color you want, turn it on low. Stir until a dark brown (some people like it lighter, I have always had it darker), if you keep it on low heat, it will not burn. Patience and CONSTANT stirring is key here. Or you can buy roux jarred, but that will get you tarred and feathered in some circles.

Trust me you will have all kinds of pots on that stove cooking making this.

While stirring and caring about the roux, get out a huge stock pot, I mean huge for like feeding a family of 10, I don't know how to make small batches of stock, it freezes well though.

Your stock will be made with

-a large onion,
-a whole chicken, cut up
-some shrimp shells and heads, it is gross, but worth the flavor
-salt
-pepper
-chopped up green peppers
-my grandmother and mom would sometimes add a dash of crab boil to this.
-fill up the stock pot with water
This is where you would do the sachet which is just a cheesecloth with spices in it, the one from that link I sent is pretty darn accurate:

# Sachet d'├ępices: In a small cheesecloth bag or tea ball, place:

* 1 teaspoon or so black peppercorns, cracked
* A few parsley stems
* 1 bayleaf
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves



Pour in water, heat up, add ingredients, cook as long as you want to desired taste......make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked before tasting. Salmonella ain't no joke. Drain it so you aren't eating shrimp heads and shells

Now for the other stuff. We always in our gumbo meat wise used sausage (your choice), chicken (a trick we use is we use the chicken from the stock that has been boiled already), shrimp, and crab meat. Frozen shrimp will suffice. I know I am going to hell for that. I do try to get fresh crab meat, blue crab (which is a regional classic)

You are going to need another onion
Another green pepper
Okra, a butt load of it, okra is what makes the gumbo thick.
Celery-another thickener
bay leaves
parsley
cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
green onions

OK after your roux is done, which could be hours and your stock is up to par taste wise:

Saute the peppers and onions. Now add them to the stock, now add the roux slowly, but surely to the stock. You can add about half the okra here....the sausage as well. Let it start boiling and then set it to low to start simmering, put a lid on it. Cook for minimum two hours, stirring every once every ten or so minutes. Skim the fat off the top as well. Finally add the rest of the okra and cook for about 30 minutes, and then about 15 minutes into that 30 minute session, add seafood, unless you are using whole crab, add that in about the same time as the okra, but the shrimp should not cook any longer than 15 minutes.

OK While you are doing all this, boil up some rice. Plain white rice, not uncle ben's instant rice...... Once it is cooked, put some in a bowl, add the gumbo on top, and sprinkle some file powder on it, it is optional, but a good touch for authenticity.

I hope no one puts any voodoo on me for giving this recipe away. I asked my mom, she wasn't all that concerned about creole and cajun secrets being revealed.