For various reasons, I missed my annual trip to New Orleans. I love New Orleans (maybe not as much as Tim Tebow loves the church, but it’s probably pretty close). Eating in New Orleans is like taking a cab ride in China. . . . it’s a culinary adventure being deathly allergic to shellfish and all. Still, I’ve found ways to eat (and drink) across the Crescent City. I laughed when a recipe for gumbo floated across the in-box this week. Aside from the obvious miscues (roux and okra?), the processed food and urging people to buy pre-chopped goods to save time (hi, your making ROUX people. . . . you can chop celery.), I started re-formulating the recipe in my head to make a GF, shellfish free gumbo.
1 cup of olive oil or melted butter
2 1/2 cups of GF Flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1 lb of sausage
3 cloves garlic
1 quart of whole tomatoes/basil
1 tsp of thyme and basil (dried)
4 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped celery
8 cups chicken stock
2 green onions, chopped.
meat of 1 chicken shredded
1 teaspoon gumbo file
Hot sauce to taste
Ok, making roux is a pain and lost art (check out Top Chef from a few weeks ago if you don’t believe me). You have to heat the oil and gently stir in the flour. Then cook without burning to your prefered shade of brown without burning. Initially you have to stir it consistently and constantly but for the last hour (yes hour) you can stir every 5-10 minutes. The trick is to get a deep brown color without burning; after about 40 minutes it should look like the color of peanut butter. I bake the sausage in the oven at 400 until done while making the roux.
Remove from heat allow to cool a bit. Here is the fun part: whisk in the chicken broth quickly to minimize clumping. I’ve found it’s easier to minimize lumps by putting the stock on the stove top and allow to warm via the heat from the oven. Dump in the remaining ingredients, and cook on low for several hours. I skipped the celery because I didn’t have any.
Easy after you get past the roux: it’s easy to see why this dish is one that was used to stretch food budgets. Wikki has an interesting article on the history of and variations on gumbo. Suffice to say, it’s a regionalized chilli cookoff. I wound up with enough for lunches this week and froze enough for almost a second week of lunches.
Meat: 8 O’clock ranch
Produce: Nourse Farms (peppers and tomatoes preserved from the summer)
Piccadilly Farms (onion, garlic)
Shaw’s Farm (butter)
King Arthur’s Flour (GF flour)