Saturday, May 14, 2011

A First Try at Gumbo

I have honestly never even thought of making gumbo.  But as it happens.....Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.
As I read through the instructions....I mean the recipe..... I was intrigued by the process.  I didn't want to have to go and buy a whole bunch of ingredients so I tried to work for the most part with what I had on hand.  I know I have seen andouille sausage in town here....but I did not feel like going 30 minutes clear across town to 'maybe' find it......So I substituted for a farmers smoked sausage.  I had chicken breast and shrimp in the freezer and my neighbourhood grocery store had frozen okra so my plan was taking shape.  I used an Emeril recipe off the internet and scaled it down a little bit as I was not sure how this was going to be received.  In the end I think it was pretty good!  Here is what I did.
Smoked Sausage, Chicken Breast and Shrimp Gumbo
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup onion diced
2/3 cup celery diced
2/3 cup bell peppers diced
2 tsp garlic minced
1 1/2 L (quarts) of chicken broth
500g smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick, browned and drained
1 1/2 cups chopped okra fresh or frozen
2 bay leaves
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
dash hot sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
500g peeled raw shrimp
300g chicken breast, sliced
1 tsp Emeril Essence seasoning
1/4 cup onion greens
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp thyme
 You will want to dice all your vegetables, brown the sausage, peel the shrimp, and slice the chicken before you start.  I cut the chicken breast in pieces the size of your thumb so they would cook in roughly the same time as the shrimp.  Season the peeled shrimp and sliced chicken breast with the 1 tsp of Emeril Essence and set aside in the fridge until you need it.
Start  making a roux with the flour and oil.  Do this in a large heavy bottom pan. Stir the flour and oil constantly over medium heat with a whisk to make sure the flour does not burn.  You must continue to stir the whole time you are making the roux...this might take a while. You want to slowly develop the colour of the roux until it is a medium brown colour.  Like a dark peanut butter colour.  This took me about 45 minutes.
Once the roux is the right colour, add the diced vegetables and continue to stir scraping the bottom of the pot so the roux does not burn.  Cook this way for another 5-10 minutes.  The roux will darken a bit.  Add minced garlic and stir another minute.  Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring with a whisk to ensure not to leave any lumps behind.  Add browned sausages, okra, bay leaves, worcester sauce, hot sauce salt and pepper and cayenne pepper.  Let simmer for 50 minutes. 
Add chicken then 2 minutes later add the shrimp.  Cook about 5 minutes or until the chicken pieces and shrimp are opaque when sliced through.  Season with parsley, thyme and onion greens.  Serve over steamed rice.

Emeril Essence Spice Mix
2 1/2 parts paprika
2 parts salt
2 parts garlic powder
1 part black pepper
1 part onion powder
1 part cayenne
1 part oregano
1 part thyme
Mix all and store remainder in a sealed container.


Audax said...

Wonderful that you liked it so much and even better that you used ingredients that were to hand that is always the best way I feel the photos look good as well.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

LittleRed said...

Thanks for stopping by! Your challenge looks tiring, you did so much cooking! Where did you find all the people to eat of of it?? Great variations on the recipe too!