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Gumbo

 
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Gumbo Reply with quote

As a Yankee Northerner I am totally clueless about making gumbo. I have found a few recipes, but was wondering if any of you have a recipe you think is spectacular I should try? I've never actually eaten it to begin with, so I want to make sure it is a good experience.

Where is Pesto Man when I need him?
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Erin,

I am so sorry you've never had gumbo! Crying or Very sad It is truly one of the culinary joys of living! My sister lives in Baton Rouge, LA and can make gumbo with her eyes closed - so I have sat at the feet of a master during its preparation. The only difficult part is the roux and the only reason it's difficult is because you just have to stand there and stir - and stir and stir and stir. Some recipes include a glass of wine for the cook in the ingredients list - because it can become tedious! Laughing

I'd recommend almost any of the Louisiana or Gulf Coast Junior League cookbooks for a good recipe. I have Talk About Good (Lafayette, LA Jr. League) and River Road (Baton Rouge Jr. League). They're both great. And have great gumbo recipes! As I recall, both of these cookbooks make Cajun gumbo which has roux and file. You may also see recipes for Creole gumbo which calls for tomatoes and okra.

Here's a VERY good recipe from epicurious.com. I actually saw this episode when it aired, and I can tell you that Eula Mae can make gumbo!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/105875

So - have FUN making gumbo and let us know how it turns out!

Very Happy
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, I agree - Where IS Pesto Man? Laughing
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nima



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question for you gumbo experts. Is it true that you would never put both okra and file powder in a gumbo? Someone once told me that because both are thickening agents, you either use one or the other, but never both. Anyone else concur with that advice?
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely true! Either/or, but never both!

I don't make gumbo often, so I would have to buy a new jar of file every time I made it. I just always use okra - which I love, so it works out! Laughing
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What on earth is file?
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nima



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

File powder, from what little I know, is powdered sassafras leaf, and is used as a thickener.

I found this on-line about it:

"File Powder

The powder gets stringy when it's heated, so add it only after you've removed the gumbo from the heat source. Filé also doesn't reheat well, so add only to the gumbo that you are planning to serve."
[/code]
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LizzyC



Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:27 am    Post subject: Re: Gumbo Reply with quote

Gumbo has a thousand variations and there is no sinlge or "proper way", so its really all about experimenting to find what you like. It's really peasant food which means it was origianlly made with what you were lucky enough have on hand kinf od like some french signature dishes I know (such as Cassolet or daube). Anyway, some chefs use okra, some use file powder, some use both, and some use neither. Some recipes have meat, some recipes are all seafood, and some are vegetarian (and this is quite traditional actually and is called Gumbo Z'hebes). Some recipes call for a dark brown flour roux, and some for somthing lighter as the thickening (such as okra).

My advice: read up on some recipes, make some different kinds, decide on what kind of gumbo you like (and in some cases what your family likes), and make your own signature recipe. I like my gumbo with a dark mahogany roux, sausage and turkey and I use BOTH a tiny pinch of file powder and okra. My cajuns relatives would probably agree with me, or not (and trust me they would be very vocal about that), but my recipe is what tastes good to me.

Anyway, if you are really interested, I would suggest looking at the amazing website www.gumbopages.com. The man knows what he is talkin' 'bout as he is both a food savant and a New Orleans native (he will also break your heart about Hurricane Katrina politics). Anyway, I have other sources too, so let me know if you are interested

As they say down south, "yeah you right".
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: THERE'S NO NEED TO FEAR, pESTO MAN IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply with quote

Hey Dawlin, whereyayatttt?

but seriously, was I needed for something? Oh Gumbo!!!!!! Welllllll a fascinating but complicated subject. and darn tasty!!! but alas Erin, I fear that gumbo nirvana comes not from a "killer recipe" but from a lot of stirring, and experimenting. sweating over a browing roux finding the perfect color, simmering and adjusting the seasonings just so, and finding the perfect combinations of ingredients.

My favorite quote about gumbos goes “they are a lot like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike they are, indelibly imprinted with the cooks own personal touches, they will radically differ from each other, in color, ingredients, spiciness, yet they are still gumbos“. I will go so far as to say as many cooks (myself included) will not make the same gumbo twice each tailored to time, ingredients, and audience

With all this divergence, perhaps it best to discuss exactly what a gumbo is, and in what ways they can differ.

All gumbos are roux-based soups which are served over rice,. They are spicy, hearty creations and are usually constructed by first making a roux (flour browned in fat) adding vegetables usually the holy trinity (onions, celery, bell peppers) in reality, a modified mirrepoix. Along with some garlic and cayenne pepper, next comes the meat or seafood and liquid (stock or water) the gumbo simmers and is served over cooked rice. (pretty much the recipe already posted)

One of the major ways that gumbos can differ is in the manner in which they are thickened, the Creole gumbo (from New Orleans and its environs) is usually thickened with okra which is added with the other vegetables and is sautéed for a while so that the natural juices (which are sort of slimly) are released and naturally thicken the gumbo. Okra gumbos also contain tomatoes which are added early along with the okra.

The roux in a Creole gumbo is generally a lighter shade that that of the second major subdivision of Gumbos the File’ (or Cajun) which is more from the rural coastline and areas west of New Orleans. The Cajun or File’ gumbo is generally a more hearty, darker affair with a roux which is browned to a deeper richer shade. And uses file’ powder ( a powdered Sassafras leaf product which the Cajuns learned about from local Choctaw Indians ) File’ not only thickens the gumbo but also adds a wonderful flavor, it can be unpleasant if cooked and is usually added sprinkled on top when served. I like to put it over the rice and let the ladled gumbo distribute it through the bowl.

I have seen recopies which contain both okra and File’ and cook the File” but they run counter to everything I have ever been taught, and I have not tried them

Having a Father from Cajun Country and a Mother who grew up in New Orleans I straddle the “Gumbo Divide” and enjoy (and make ) both types. For a Seafood Gumbo I prefer the okra and tomato “Creole” style with a lighter roux usually to a “brick“ or “peanut butter” shade

For chicken or game (usually duck) I prefer a File’ gumbo with a roux I have browned to a much darker shade usually a “milk chocolate”. these can be tricky as one does not want to burn the roux and have to start all over again. One of my favorite gumbos involves the meat and stock obtained from boiling the left over turkey carcass from Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner along with some smoked sausage and freshly shucked oysters which are added along with their liquor just before serving and are only simmered long enough to curl the edges. From here there are literally thousands of variations all pretty darn good.

Erin I think you just have to come New Orleans try a few and then we’ll make one or two together!!!!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Pesto Man! Able to scale tall buildings in a single bound, then offer aid to the gumbo clueless. My hero!

Thanks every one for your help. I will be making it tonight, I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wink I believe the only appropriate reply to Pesto Man is

"Amen, Brother!"

I haven't made gumbo in a while - I always wait til my sister comes out, or I go there. But, Erin, you've piqued my tastebuds and I suppose I'll have to make a batch right quick! Laughing

I hope you'll let us know how yours turns out!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your tips, they really paid off. The dark roux was no problem, I find all that stirring theraputic it's the main reason I like to make risotto. My recipe was really a mish-mash of others I'd found. I added; turkey andoullie sausage, shredded chicken, prawns, tomatoes, of course the 'holy trinity of gumbo', and some okra. We like our food spicy so there was plenty of cayenne and other spices added. The result was delicious! I couldn't have done it without your help.
Thanks guys!!!
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"It's hot ham water."
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Therese



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Hong Kong / Louisiana

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got to second the call to go to Gumbo pages. Like Pesto man, my family straddles Cajun and Creole country (though my Cajun relatives are only through marriage), and I'm all about the Creole styles. Wink File gumbo is fine by me, though seafood gumbo (with okra) is my preference, but as a New Orleanian by birth, and it being Lent, I cannot help but recommend the greens gumbo -- gumbo z'herbes! Gumbo Pages has a good recipe for it too, but you don't have to go out and try to find all of these great greens. You can mix and experiment with whatever greens you can find locally. Being mostly in Hong Kong now, I go with the various greens we have here -- Chinese broccoli, rape, even pea shoots. I usually add file, though I've made it with okra/tomato before and it's turned out just as delicious.
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