Gumbo should have been called “yum”bo. I swear!!
I happened to pass by some okra in the grocery store the other day, so while we were planning food for the week, the subject of gumbo naturally arose. Well, and John asks me to make it about every day of our life. I give. He deserves all the things. He’s a gem of a dude. We’ve been doing some bomb ass bonding since I have been seriously limiting my time in cyberspace and focusing on me and us and this. “This” being our life. He helps manage the Page and I just today figured out that I can post from the blog and avoid the entire FB trap altogether.
Mr. Wonderful brought home chicken, andouille, shrimp, and scallops for a topper. Our favorite meat market only had a half pound left so he swiped them up not knowing if I’d add them to gumbo. Uhm, here’s what I think about gumbo: you can put the kitchen sink in it. Most of the delightful southern recipes I tried in Louisiana home kitchens were comprised of leftovers. Anything goes, foodies.
This recipe is sort of labor intensive with a lot of steps involved. In fact, I’m sort of writing this entry as I make the gumbo so I don’t forget anything.
Got some binaural beats rocking the speakers and I’m rocking the stock pot.
This recipe takes planning and patience. It also makes a pretty big pot, so invite a few peeps to enjoy a bowl.
What You Need:
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 lb andouille sausage
1 lb shrimp. We used 50/60 for this because they are soup spoon sized and therefore perfect.
1/2 lb scallops if you want to be “extra”. I don’t mind it in the name of food drama.
1/4 c olive oil divided
1 large sweet onion
2 large bell peppers
6 celery stalks
2 sticks of butter
1 c flour
1/2 c cajun seasoning
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 c sliced okra
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Gumbo file to taste
12 c chicken or seafood stock. We didn’t make seafood stock because we haven’t had a boil in awhile and we have no shells stocked up in the freezer. This realization made me a little sad. We used to throw some great parties.
3 bay leaves
What You Do:
Prep all your veggies by fine dicing. This is totally a matter of preference, but I find onion and green pepper haters still eat my food.
Rinse and dry chicken breasts.
Season all sides with cajun seasoning.
In your stock pot, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil and cook the chicken until done.
Remove from pot, allow to cool.
In the meantime, cut up the andouille sausage and give a quick browning after the chicken is done.
Pull the sausage from the pot, pour the pan liquid into a Pyrex bowl. Set this aside.
Put another 2 Tbsp olive oil in pot then add your prepped veggies.
Cook until onions are soft and opaque.
Add your minced garlic.
Now this is where stuff gets fun, or not. Your roux is THE most important component of the gumbo. You can go blonde, brown or black. That depends how much stirring you want to get up to and how much beer you want to drink. Roux needs constant action and attention. Stir stir and stir some more.
So you either pull out your veggies now, add the stick of butter to the pot and melt it for dark roux; OR you leave the veggies in the pot and add the butter.
I’m going the lazy blonde roux route because I am running behind schedule and today I’m slightly lazy, plus lots of beer is not part of the equation this afternoon.
Either way you go, once the butter is melted, you gradually add in the flour and stir until your arm hurts. For brown roux, keep going until you’ve had 3 beers. In the south black roux calls for a 6 pack.
Here is an example of the difference. This is a photo of my drunken dark roux from a couple Mardi Gras dinners ago when I had lots of beer and lots of time…
This is the gumbo I made today…
Listen. Here’s a tip. You can’t be making gumbo in shitty pans. You better have a stainless steel, copper or cast iron, or else your roux will burn and well, once a failed gumbo maker, it is very difficult to redeem yourself. For real.
Alright. Your arm is sore, the smells are amazing. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about adding a King Cake to the days menu.
Full disclosure, I’m still thinking about it at 9:15 PM as I write this post and after the kitchen has been cleaned and everything is put away. It could still happen.
Back to the recipe, though.
Now you add back to the pot that Pyrex of reserved juices from earlier, and the sausage and chicken.
Give it a good stir, and then start adding the stock in. Don’t worry that it’s too much. Gumbo simmers for a long time, so lots will evaporate.
Add in your okra.
Now start with your seasoning. I can’t tell you how much salt, pepper or file to put in the pot. It’s all about personal preference.
You’ll allow your gumbo to simmer as long as you want. While its doing so, you should clean, dry and season your seafood.
I grilled my shrimp just a little bit before adding them to my boiling stew. I would suggest not adding them too early as they will get too chewy.
The scallops were a treat and I would simply sear them quick and add when you dish up.
I never add rice to the pot because rice can be funny with heating and reheating and all that. Besides, it gets mushy and gross.
When you ladle up your gumbo, put a gorgeous scoop of rice on top, then embellish your dish with some pretty basil ribbons and sriracha sauce.
Now place the scallops on the rice pile and look at you all chef like and doing thangs!!
Alright you guys. I am going to enjoy the rest of the evening snacking and reading this amazing book called “Wheels Of Life: The Classic Guide To The Chakra System”. Always with the wheels, right??
Maybe you’ll get an opportunity to make a pot of this gumbo soon. Let me know how you like it.
Stay cooking, Dolls. XOXO
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