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Seafood Gumbo

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Rod Franklin View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 September 2012 at 14:10
Anyone, anywhere in the world can make this and enjoy it. I like it and it's good and easy. It's just basic seafood gumbo so it's mostly going to be a process and not so much a recipe with exactly this much of this and just that much of that. It does require a dark roux which I make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator. The procedure for that can be found online. I use butter and bake it in the oven. I go for that darkly toasted and buttered bread flavor.

Here we go. with PICTURES!!!

The stuff I use: Start there with the pint jar with the brown stuff in it. Notice the color. That's what a dark roux looks like and that's what it is and I'll be using all of that. Next is a chopped onion, then a package of smoked sausage of which I will use half, then a pot of snow crab shells boiled in water for about an hour, the crab meat removed from the shells, a cup of oysters, a little package of file powder which is the powdered dried leaves of the sassafras tree (optional really), then a bottle of my homemade jalapeno hot sauce. On the inside there is a lemon of which I'll use about half, salt, celery, green pepper and finally shrimp.


The onion, green pepper and the celery represent what is called the Trinity of Louisiana cooking and the ratio you need to know is 2 parts onion and one part each of green peppers and celery.

Here's the roux in the pot. Sorry the color isn't accurate. Refer to the above photo for the correct color.


Here we see the trinity sweated down in the pot of roux then the sausage cooked in there for several minutes after. Your house will smell good right now...

After the sausage is cooked a little strain the crab broth into the pot and let it cook for 1/2 hour or so.


Now for a little side trip. I have a couple of small Sassafras trees growing on my property so I collected a few leaves to dry to make file (pronounce FEE-lay) powder. It is a powder that has the same thickening power that okra has. Although the roots and bark of Sassafras has a powerful and pleasant smell and taste, the leaves don't have much flavor after they have dried. Therefore I kind of consider it optional. Okra would certainly be used in this dish and I'm sure many would consider it required and that's OK and all good. Please feel free to include okra in your gumbo.

Anyway here are some Sassafras leaves drying.


And here is some of the resulting green powder sprinkled on the cooked white rice my gumbo will be served over. I'm going to say file powder should be used at the last minute as too much used in the gumbo itself as it cooks can result in that ropey slime. Nope, don't like ropey slime. Not at all.


So, you've let that pot simmer covered for 1/2 hour and you were thinking the house was smelling good. Well, now add the shrimp, crab and roughly chopped oysters and all the juices from the seafood and let it simmer just a minute or two. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce and salt. Don't make it lemony. I used less than half of one lemon. Just enough to know it's there, no more. Now the house is smelling real good.

And finally, a steaming bowl of Louisiana goodness. If you can wait it is much better the next day. I never could, but the leftovers are even better than fresh made. Anybody can make this, so get on it and see if you like it as much as I do.

 
All you really have to know is dark roux, the trinity, smoked sausage, some other meat like fish, seafood or chicken, hot sauce and serve it over rice. Throw some okra in there too if you like it, but I don't think anyone will complain about a bowl of the above put in front of them.


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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 September 2012 at 05:04
Good Morning Rod,
 
Wow. Seafood Gumbo with Sausages, is surely something that can be prepared fairly easily in Spain ... The sausages are definitely not a problem nor are the Shrimp.
 
Which Mediterranean spices would work well with Gumbo ? 
 
There is a well established retail market called TASTE OF AMERICA and I believe I could get some Louisana classic spices and piquant sauce ...
 
Thanks so much for posting your wonderful Pictorial and Recipe.
 
Kind regards.
Marge. Handshake 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 September 2012 at 10:59
What I offered was a basic gumbo, although my addition of lemon juice might be considered as a departure from basic, but not by much.

Gumbo seems to me to be like chile. It has as many ways of making it as there are cooks. I like to pare down recipes like chile and gumbo and such to just what is essential, then maybe make small incremental additions.

It would certainly be appropriate to add bay leaves, thyme, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar or some cajun spice blend purchased at the Taste of America. All of these or just one or two and in whatever amounts you might like.

I wanted to taste the oysters and crab because I don't get to eat those often enough so I didn't want to confuse the flavors much. In what I offered the crab and oysters shine.

Almost any hot chile would do the job here. Cayenne pepper powder, red pepper flakes which you probably already have on hand, fresh Serrano or fresh or dried Thai, any bottled sauce that is just chiles, vinegar and salt would do, like McIlhenney original Tobasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce with the red dot on the label, as would some Asian hot sauces, such as Hoy Fong Foods, Inc. (the bottles with the rooster) Sriracha or Sambal Oelek.  Lots of choices. You just want some heat. Personally, I find Sambal Oelek very versatile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 September 2012 at 11:23
Rod,
 
Interesting about the overload when preparing dynamic shellfish and seafood. I understand you because I feel the same way when preparing a Shellfish Paella Rice ... or Boulaibaisse ( Marseilles ) shellfish stew ... or Cassola di Sardinia, the Sardinian boulaisbaisse served on angel hair pasta ...
 
I too, want to taste the shellfish too ...
 
THANKS FOR UR SUGGESTIONS and it is a definite on the List of to do´s ... Shellfish comes fully into season in November as it is still SUMMER here ... 85 Degrees Noon time, and 65 in early am.
 
Ciao,
Marge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 September 2012 at 17:41
If you do try this, Margi, the real key, as Rod points out, is the roux.
 
The way I was taught, in the bayou, is to start with equal volumes of oil and flour (1 cup each, actually), in a heavy---preferably cast iron---kettle. Work over a low flame, stirring often, until reaching the desired color. If you do this in less than 45-60 minutes you're rushing it.
 
After that just follow Rod's general procedure.  Gumbo is the soul of cajun cooking, and, after the basics, there are no rules. The Trinity and sausage appear always. After that, whatever was available went in the pot.
 
Enjoy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2012 at 03:16
Historic Foodie, Good Morning,
 
Thanks so much for your feedback and coaching on the key, the Roux.
 
This shall be a lovely recipe for a Sunday ... as it is something I have never prepared before.
 
I had eaten it in New Orleans, in the late 1980s and we enjoyed it tremendously.
 
I would do a practice Roux ...
 
Again, thanks alot for your assistance.
Have a lovely wkend. Ciao,
Marge.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2012 at 06:38
Historic Foodie,
 
Yes, I recall you explaining the differences between creole and cajun to me a year or so ago, in addition to other questions I have had about Gumbo.
 
As soon as we are a bit re-settled as The Vet returns to work Monday the 10th and I on 17th I would like to try this. I also am about to enter editorial deadline for the Autumn - Christmas Edition print magazine and the new website we are establishing.
 
Have great wkend Brook.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2012 at 12:33
Yeah Margi, that recipe without a roux shouldn't be called gumbo as the roux is a vital flavor.

And yes, please practice making roux. Mr. Foodies way is the traditional way and is good to be able to do and everyone should learn to have what it takes to make a dark roux happen as needed and I would encourage you to learn that method first. Like all ways of dark roux making, it is simple to do but easy to fail at. Mostly because it takes so long and requires constant attention and effort and that often results in the cook getting impatient and either turning up the heat or, as it seems to always be in my case, walking away from it while it is cooking. Both of these things will surely cause a burnt roux and failure. A burnt roux is a throw away item. It can't be saved and you may be tempted to use it. But don't. There is little that happens in my kitchen that is more disappointing than a failed roux. It represents such effort and every time it fails it's failure can only be explained as my own fault.

Thus why I like the oven method of roux making. Easier for me than on the stove top, but still requires attention and some smarts to get it right. Once it's done you have roux to last a while if stored in jars in the refrigerator. I go with equal parts by weight of fat and AP flour. Fat can be anything from recycled bacon fat to butter and most any oil in between. Oven set to 350F and flour mixed well with whatever fat and then baked in an uncovered and heavy pyrex or cast iron vessel till it's got that "look." Checking and stirring more often as it gets closer to finishing. I use 1 pound of unsalted butter and 1 pound of all purpose flour and it takes more than an hour to finish. I take it out of the oven just before it has the "look" and stir it often as it cools and it always cooks and colors just a little bit more after it comes from the oven.

Oh, and don't get any on ya! It'll leave a mark.Smile

Let us know how your roux mastering journey unfolds.

Thanks for your vote of confidence in my recipe. As with almost everything I make it is just the condensation of research I do on the internet. I couldn't have done it without countless unsung internet heros.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 03:31
Rod,
 
Thanks alot for all your coaching and advice on the Roux Mastering.
 
I believe, since I make a great Italian Bolognese, and a marvelous Marinara; Roux cannot be that difficult. Seems the Oven Method is easier as you too had mentioned.
 
Would you state, that Butter creates a better Roux than a specific Oil ?
 
Now, it I were to use an Oil; which Oil would be best to employ ?
 
I think Unsalted Butter shall work well.
 
Thanks alot, have nice Sunday.
Marge.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 04:34
The oil choice is almost irrelevent, Margi. I've had roux made with butter, and I've made it with  olive, canola, and peanut oils. Never noticed any difference in final taste.
 
The whole trick is to get it to color but not burn. While this does require paying attention, it's nowheres near as difficult as some people make out. Low & slow is the key, along with frequent stirring.
 
And I emphatically agree with Rod: if it does burn, toss it and start over. There is no way to save it. Anything you use it for will taste burned.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 04:44
Here's a link to a post on roux that I did quite a while back....basically just reinforces what has already been stated here.

Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 04:58
One addition. While most people stress using equal parts by weight, I learned (from genuine cajuns, out in the bayou) to use equal parts by volume.
 
Seems to work either way. So, in a fit of nothing better to do, I just did some compartive weighing. Turns out, a cup of flour and a cup of oil weigh within about an ounce of each other---not enough to make a real difference.
 
So, while weighing is certainly more precise, volume should make no never mind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 05:11
Historic Foodie, Good Morning.
 
I can see ROUX has a Fuego Lento Culture ( slow and low = slow on low fire or flame ) ...
 
You have stated, you have made the Roux, with butter, and have made it with Olive Oil ...
 
Which did you prefer ?  You had not detected a flavour profile difference between the butter and the olive oil ?  The texture of the Roux was not a bit different ?
 
Thanks for clarifying and all your coaching.
Marge.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 05:54
I've been using butter because I use the same roux in the lentil soup that I make. I used to make it as needed with leftover bacon grease. Mr Foodie is right about it being easy to make. It's just that  part where you sneak up to the edge of burnt that makes it, well... finicky. And I agree the weight vs volume thing isn't a critical point. The fat is merely a vehicle to conduct heat evenly to the flour. You might just toast flour in a dry heat and store it almost indefinitely at room temperature for later use. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2012 at 06:12
Rod & Brook,
 
Okay, shall go with the olive oil for the trial run and do a tasting sample with  Butter too ... I shall keep u posted.
 
Thanks, have nice Sunday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2012 at 15:28
hey, rod - i saw this on the day you posted it, but wasn't able to comment. thanks much for such an informative post, with outstanding side trips into filet-powder- and roux-lands. lots of really good information on this thread! Thumbs Up
 
dave, thanks for posting your link to the roux pictorial - i had forgotten about that, but it's a good one!
 
brook - your thoughts on cajun/creole would be invaluable here:
 
 
i had jotted down some notes when i first created the forum, but being a relative food-newbie and "damn yankee" to boot, i am sure that my information is lacking in depth as well as credentials.
 
as to measurements, you know what they say - a pint's a pound, the world around! Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2012 at 06:48
Tas,
 
Thanks so much for your valuable feedback and contribution.
 
Appreciate all your input.

Ciao. Siempre,
Abrazos y Saludos,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2012 at 07:11
You might just toast flour in a dry heat and store it almost indefinitely at room temperature for later use. 
 
Actually, Rod, there are commercial products that are, essentially, just that. To me they taste like burnt flour, though, so I eschew their use.
 
a pint's a pound, the world around!
 
Yeah, they do say that, Ron. But it just ain't so---unless you're talking about measuring water. Even other liquids don't fit the rubric (try weighing a pint of salad oil, for instance). When you get to solids, there are no cases I know of in which a pint's a pound.
 
Take flour as a case in point. Depending on authority cited and method of scooping, flour weights from 4-5 ounces per cup. Go with the higher number, and you get 10 ounces per pint.
 
In short, it's always a danger trying to equate volume measurements to weight measurments.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2012 at 07:54
Let´s toast to Rod. This is going to be quite a lovely Gumbo ...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2012 at 11:06
Toast me? Aww, shucks... I don't deserve it. I sure hope my humble and basic gumbo lives up to your expectations.

I've heard of toasted flour product but have no experience with it, but I'm not surprised it's not what it should be. It should be possible to do it at home, but I'm more than satisfied with the butter/flour roux I make and keep in the cooler. Rarely do I miss that bacon flavor I used to get and I can just make it that way if I want it or throw a piece of bacon in there instead.

I started weighing things more and more after having difficulties getting consistent results with fermented vegetables and have seen the weight vs volume light, now always leaning towards weighing things. Like when making sausages, for consistent results I have to weigh ingredients. And I don't mind either because it has made things better.

Now, if the whole world would just go metric I could be a happy man...

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