I know it's not really gumbo weather, but I can eat gumbo anytime! I love gumbo!! I'm so excited that we will be going to New Orleans again in July. I love everything about New Orleans, especially the food! There really isn't any good place to get gumbo here in LA, so the next best thing is making it at home. I'm slowly getting better at making it too;o) The first time I made it several years back I couldn't get the roux to get dark. I read in one recipe that you need to cook it on low heat for about an hour and make sure to stir it all the time. I cooked it for about 1 1/2 hours and the roux stayed a blondish color. I called it my "White Gumbo" and it tasted pretty good, but just didn't have that nice rich flavor to it. When I told someone that lives in LA, but was from NOLA about my gumbo they rolled their eyes and looked at me like I was an idiot...lol I am much better at making gumbo now! I still don't make it the traditional way, so I don't want anybody out there that is from New Orleans to roll their eyes at my gumbo because it's not authentic, I know it's not;o)
The Trinity...Celery, Onion & Bell Peppers
I usually just get frozen okra, but I couldn't find it at the store. They had fresh okra instead! What a nice surprise. A lot of times when I find fresh okra it's too big and too woody and is the reason I get frozen. This batch was the perfect size and texture!
Sauteing Trinity in Chicken Fat...
I started by seasoning the chicken parts from a whole chicken and then browned it. For some reason all the chicken skin stuck to the bottom of the dutch oven. I'm not sure what I did wrong because I do this all the time and usually don't have this problem. I started with oil and then browned it. The problem may have been that I didn't wait for the pan to get hot, but the second batch stuck too:o( After taking the chicken out I added the trinity to it and that got all the nice flavors from the chicken and skin off the bottom! After everything was softened I set it aside. It's seasoned with salt, pepper & some Creole Seasoning. I just use the packaged Tony Chachere's seasoning.
I like to saute the veggies first, so it gets the nice fond from the chicken parts. I sauted the okra until it was softened and also set that aside. I cleaned the dutch oven after that, so I'd have a nice clean pan for the roux.
After about 2 mins...
In Paul Prudhome's recipe he says to make the roux on high heat and be careful not to burn it or yourself because it's like liquid napalm. I make mine on med-high heat now and make sure to constantly stir it.
After 6 mins...
Cooking it on med-high gets it cooking fast! Nothing like that 1 1/2 hours I spent the first time I tried to make roux...lol
Done at 12 mins...
I always wonder how people come up with certain recipes. Who would think to add equal parts flour & oil and then keep cooking it until it looks like it's burning...lol
After the roux reaches the color I like, I turn off the heat and then add the veggies to it. You need to be very careful at this stage because the roux starts bubbling and it also gets darker. It's like you are deep frying the veggies! I made sure to add just a little bit at a time and was careful about not adding any liquid in the beginning.
Roux, Chicken, & Crab Stock
Even though I don't make a "seafood" gumbo I like to use seafood stock...lol I like the flavor that the crab stock and chicken make. I had frozen crab stock on hand from the last time I made crab. The only problem is that I always forget that the stock is a little salty since I salt the water to cook the crab in. I just end up adding more water at the end of cooking to make it less salty. This time I didn't even put crab meat in the gumbo;o)
After the trinity cooked in the roux I slowly added the warm stock and put the heat back on. I then add all the chicken parts and a bay leaf and let it cook for about 45 mins. I then take out the breasts & thighs and leave the rest to flavor the gumbo and cook for another hour or so. I took the breasts & thighs off the bone and put the bones back into the gumbo. I add the okra the last 30 mins.
I don't like the Andouille to overcook, so I brown it separately and then add it right before serving. I also do the same with the shrimp.
I add the chicken & okra at the same time...about the last 30 mins of cooking... At that time I fish out the wings, drumsticks & bones from thigh and throw them out.
I just used frozen shrimp for this. I make sure to get the type that still has the shell on and is uncooked!
Gumbo served with Long Grain Rice & topped with chopped green onions and I love Jalapenos with everything!
My favorite Jalapeno!
I used to be able to get these at the grocery store around here, but not anymore for some reason. Trappey's used to be based in Louisiana, but I think they had troubles after Katrina, so they may have sold the company to B&G. I also love Trappey's Hot Sauce. The story is that he used to work for Tabasco and stole some of the chile pepper plants and then started his own company.
I mail order the jalapenos by the case now from My Brands. I think I pay more for shipping than for the actual jalapenos, but so worth it for me! They have a nice crunch to them where most pickled jalapenos are too mushy.