Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Oh lord, if I don't post this now, it will NEVER get posted. We had gumbo the other night, dudes!


My husband and his coworkers decided to have an impromptu gumbo cook-off, and he was immediately in muddy waters. One of his coworkers is originally from the south, and the other does a lot of southern cooking. I didn't get a chance to taste the other offerings, but I'm sure they were delicious.


Let me be frank- you can put whatever the hell you want in gumbo. It's just a big ol' messy pot of gravy-like sauce, some meat, some particular spices, and vegetables. For this version, we made some decisions based on two variables- whether or not our son could/would eat it, and The Competition. Because we had a toddler to take into account, my husband chose a smoked beer sausage that really tasted like a mildly spicy hot dog. Andouille sausage would have been more traditional, and probably a little tastier, but we weren't sure if the little dude would dig it. Plus, he wanted to go with something a little less traditional, figuring that the other dudes were going traditional all the way. I would have liked a little shellfish action, but we weren't sure about the whole allergen thing (our son is only 2 1/2) so we wussed out and put fried catfish on top instead. Overall, it was very good. I don't know if it won the contest, but the effort was valiant and the result was delicious.


For this gumbo, we did:

1 rough chopped green bell pepper
2 rough chopped stalks of celery
1 yellow onion, diced
Some sausage (we used 'smoked beer sausage' but andouille would be best)
Chicken thighs & drums, bone-in
Green onion for garnish
minced garlic
File (I'm too lazy to find the accent mark- that's like Fee-lay) Powder
Bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
pinch of chili powder
Few splashes of wine
3-4 cups of good stock (homemade is best).
handful of all purpose flour

In a small pot, heat stock. Then, melt a pat of butter in a big huge pot, and saute vegetables until they begin to soften. Deglaze the pot with a small amount of white wine, allow to burn off for a moment, then dump veggies onto a plate and reserve for later. Add a little more butter (or some oil) and dump in some chopped sausage, (not all of it, just a good handful or so.) and allow some of the fat to render in the pan. Remove the sausage, then throw in a handful of flour and whisk into a roux. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with roux, so if you don't have enough butter, go ahead and add some more. Keep whisking and let the roux toast until it reaches a nutty brown color (Or go darker, if you'd like. Apparently Jason's coworker simmers his roux for up to 2 hours to get it very thick and dark. Crazy!) and then add the hot stock gradually while stirring. Bring to a quick boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Throw in a bay leaf, a pinch of chili powder, and some file powder. At this point, you can add your chicken, the whole legs, to the pot. Try to get them covered with the liquid (which should be pretty thick, but still rather soupy). Cover and let simmer until chicken is cooked. (How are you going to know if it's cooked? Holy crap, that's a good question. Just remember if you get impatient and pull them before they're done, it's gonna get added back in and finish cooking anyway.) When the chicken is done, pull the legs out and shred them on a cutting board, and then add meat back in. Add vegetables and sausage, and let the whole pot bubble and simmer. Keep tasting it, keep stirring it. Add what you need and let it go for awhile. (Ours was on the stove for like 3 hours.)

Serve over white rice, and top with cubes of pan-fried (dredged quickly in flour) catfish if you desire.


This was so hearty that one small bowl filled me up. There was plenty leftover, most of which got taken into work with my husband. The next day we had barely enough leftover for like, maybe one or two servings (after taking most of the leftovers to work, I mean- there would have been plenty.) so I chopped up some carrots, celery, and zucchini, and quickly sauteed them before adding the gumbo to the pan to heat up. Basically I just stretched it out a little, and it was very tasty.


And I don't want any southern folk getting on my case if this is like, ALL WRONG, either, because first of all- I didn't make it, and second of all, I've never even had real southern gumbo. Relax! It's just a big old pot of delicious, that's all. You don't have to get tricky with it. If you use good sausage, the whole damn thing is just gonna taste like sausage anyway, and I can't complain about that.


ellenfork said...

i made some gumbo on sunday, I've been feasting on it all week in honor of mardi gras and procrastinating about posting on it...this one looks good! everybody has their methods, and four years in new orleans taught me there are a million bajillion diff ways to make it. any way you do it...nomnomnom!

Krista said...

Looks good! As long as you can do a dark roux, you can add pretty much whatever you want.

Yup. Down here everyone has "THE BEST" gumbo. Just ask them... they'll tell you. ;o)

edible forest said...

nice photos in this blog!

Flame Thrower said...

looks delicious! I've been wanting to try this for ages!

jana said...

I can definitely teach you to make gumbo. I am from Louisiana..born and bred. Your gumbo sounded delicious...I don't think there is necessary any rules. Let me know if you are interested.