New Orleans Creole Gumbo

11/3/2017 – Mary spent all day making this for the first time to serve at Peggy’s visit to Houston to see the Quilt Show. It was very good and enjoyed by everyone. They even wanted it again the next evening.

Inspired by the recipe at dailyrecipedoctor at  Dailyrecipedoctor said: “I am going to give you my gumbo recipe. I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother who were born and raised in New Orleans and really knew how to cook. This recipe is a combination of both of their recipes which I have added to over the years. Serve over hot cooked rice.” The recipe below is not the same as hers but close.

What Mary did differently is inserted below in the list of ingredients.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bacon drippings

Make the roux in the cast iron enameled pot. [This took a long time to get dark. Next time try the oven method here.]

1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced

While roux is browning saute the veggies in bacon drippings

3 quarts water, used beef broth store bought
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning blend
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes seasoned with garlic and celery
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder

2 tablespoons bacon drippings
10 ounces fresh cut okra sauteed in bacon grease
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Sautee okra in bacon drippings with vinegar

1 pound lump crabmeat
2.5 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined seasoned with creole seasoning
2 snapper filets, cubed and seasoned with creole seasoning
2 larger pieces of our most recent homemade tasso

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder

12/9/2017 – These notes are included to remind us of lessons learned with the gumbo made this weekend somewhat following the above recipe. We followed it closely other than the roux and that made all the difference. Our copy of Kit Whol’s Creole Soups and Gumbos had just arrived and I started the roux following the seafood gumbo recipe but wanting to only make 50% of the recipe. Also, wanted to try her suggestions to make the roux with whole wheat flour for a nuttier more flavorful roux.

As her recipe is a restaurant chef’s, the gumbo is likely thinner (less seafood and veggies) than we like. Hence, the large volume of roux that the recipe would make. Even at 50% there would still be 33% more roux made for the above recipe. So, when Mary decided we would not follow the Kit Whol recipe, but instead this one, we had 33% more roux on the way than necessary. When the broth was added and the starches expanded we had way too much roux. [Note that the recipe in the book uses fewer veggies that here so it would have been very thin.]

In addition, the whole wheat flour did make a nutty more flavorful roux but I think it also led to a larger volume than regular flour would have created. At least it seemed so maybe due to the broader flavor profile. It seemed as if you could not cook the flour taste out.  Another difference was that Kit’s roux is made with butter, not bacon drippings alone. We did add some bacon drippings but it did not make a difference overall. Also, Mary’s recipe here has the vegetables sauteed in the bacon drippings. We did not do that in this cook.

So here are the lessons: maybe try whole wheat 50:50 with regular flour and; keep the ratio of veggies to roux like the recipe above. Saute the veggies lightly in bacon grease cause everythings better with bacon.

Original directions are below but Mary did not follow them exactly. What she did for the original 11/3/17 cook is inserted in the lists of ingredients above.

  1.  Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
  2. Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with a slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.
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