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Jan 31, 2010 02:13 PM

February 2010 COTM: Louisiana Kitchen GUMBOS, SOUPS & STEWS

Welcome to the GUMBOS, SOUPS & STEWS thread for the February 2010 Cookbook of the Month, Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen.

Please post your reviews of GUMBOS, SOUPS & STEWS recipes here.

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  1. For all the frugal gourmets out there: used canned clams in place of the crab or crawfish. The sweetness of the clams and their broth adds a nice little balance to the overall rich, smoky depth of the gumbo.

    1. Chicken and Andouille Smoked Sausage Gumbo, p. 202

      First, I have to thank everybody that gave me great advice on the main thread about making my first gumbo. I was especially glad that I made the gumbo the day ahead - it really did get better every day (I had the last of it today for lunch - pic below - and it was delicious). Also, I had to throw out the first batch of roux that I tried over the high heat method. It had black flecks in it and smelled a bit scorched so I assume I burned it. I did the second batch over lower heat, which took quite a while - I wish I had allowed myself more time.

      The recipe starts with fried chicken! A 2-3 pound chicken (I used 3 lbs) is cut up, tossed with seasoned flour, fried, cooled, and then boned and cut into dice. Next time I would remember to remove the skin before instead of after frying (the recipe didn't call for this, but I didn't want soggy skin in the gumbo). The roux is made, then finely chopped green peppers, onions, and celery added, and then this mixed into boiling chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock I had in the freezer), and then simmered with diced andouille sausage, garlic, and the chicken. I simmered for about an hour, and then another half hour the day of the Super Bowl. I served it with Basic Cooked Rice (p. 224) and Penzey's filé powder for those who wanted to season/thicken their gumbo, and was really happy with how it came out. It was a big hit for the main dish of a NOLA-themed Super Bowl.


        [Note: colorplate #22, at least in my edition, is mislabeled. It is a photo of the seafood-andouille gumbo, not the seafood file gumbo, as listed.]

        I've made gumbo based on this recipe for 20+ years now, so I could do it in my sleep, but I've tweaked it to my liking over the years and almost always do things a little differently in terms of proportions and ingredients. (I also used this basic recipe when I make poultry gumbo; I make stock w/the poultry carcass(es) and use the leftover (usually roast) meat.)

        I was making this for a crowd, so I used about 9 cups of shrimp stock and adjusted the amounts of trinity veggies and roux accordingly (though I never measure the veggies, just guess).

        I started by making a high heat roux in my large cast iron skillet, w/ just over 1/2 cup (peanut) oil heated for 5 minutes and just over 1 c. flour, and whisking until it is a dark reddish brown, probably 5 or 6 minutes. I then quickly added half my trinity veggies and cooked for a minute before adding the rest. Cooked for 2 minutes; I then added the spice mix (usually cut the pepper and salt in half for a regular recipe; for this larger one, I used used 1/4 tsp ea. of white and red pepper and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black, 1 1/4 tsp. salt and upped the other spices by 50%) and cooked for 2 minutes. I then added 2 T minced garlic (I like a lot), turned off the heat and let it cook in the hot roux.

        To a separate pot of boiling stock, I then spooned in the roux mixture until it dissolved and all was boiling nicely. I added 3/4 lb. sliced andouille (I always use less than the recipe calls for), returned to boil and boiled 15 min., then reduced and simmered another 15. At this point I stopped and put it away until the next day.

        Since I was taking this to a parade watching-party, where there was a lot of other food, I decided not to invest in pricey crabmeat and doubled up+ on the shrimp (besides, I have a ton of shrimp in my freezer). I used almost 3 lbs. I did not add oysters this time, either, as so many people are leery of oysters--although they're at their wondrous peak here now--and there were many out-of-towners in attendance. Heated up the gumbo just before serving, added the shrimp and let them get just-cooked, sprinkled chopped scallions on top (love the pop of bright color) and yelled "come and get it!" And they did, and as everyone always does about this gumbo, they raved.

        BTW, I served this w/a pot of brown rice, which I cooked in diluted chicken stock. I usually just cook it in water, but people raved about the rice too--maybe the slight flavoring distracted them from the brown rice factor, I don't know. ( I have seen many a local cook's eyebrow raise when I say I serve gumbo--and etouffee and beans--w/brown rice.) With brown rice and the low fat content, this gumbo--unlike many cajun dishes--actually qualifies as "health food."