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A Gumbo New Year January 1, 2011

Posted by Fritz in Yachts and other things that float.
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Sort of a New Year’s tradition…I make gumbo. Started yesterday morning by shopping for the ingredients I didn’t already have. Then comes the prep—it’s half the fun. It’s an all day affair, perfect for when you don’t have anything else to do and you like to cook.

Over the years I have honed my roux making skills. In my humble opinion I make a bad-ass roux. It’s the base for the entire stew. The key is the gradual cooking of the flour in the oil. Too fast and you’ll burn it and the taste will permeate the gumbo. Done right there is a nuttiness that is created and that’s what you want. It should take about 20 minutes and be a dark mahogany color. Near constant whisking is required over medium low heat.

When the roux is ready, present her with the other secret to the stew: okra. This misunderstood, underappreciated veggie holds the magic. Many complain of the slimy nature and are put off by the unique taste. Hah! If they only knew. Cooked down, the okra releases its magical powers and puts the Oh! in gumbo.

Four more of hours of simmering brings the concoction to its special place. I let mine rest over night in the fridge. This allows for the myriad of flavors to meld. The oysters and shrimp go in during the re-heating the next day and the entire mélange is served piping hot over a bed of jasmine rice. Option #2 is to cut two healthy rounds of French bread and top them with the savory sauce. Either way your mouth and mind will be instantly transported to the land of the Bayou. A delightful way to start the new year.

Oh yeah, I’ll still be having the traditional New Year’s meal of smoked ham, black-eyed peas, jalapeno corn bread (made in a skillet) and collard greens tonight. Gotta have those black-eyed peas…it’s good luck you know. Recipe for the gumbo follows. (alcoholic intake optional)


Judy’s Best Gumbo evah*


Wash okra, cut into ¼ inch rounds, set aside.

In large pot heat olive oil over medium/low heat, stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and whisk frequently until it turns a nice mocha color. (about 15-20 minutes)

Add okra, chopped onions, celery, chopped garlic, salt to taste and cayenne. Make sure heat is very low and put on the lid. Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine and pop in a Neville brothers CD. After every other song, lift the lid, stir quickly and return lid.

When the Brothers have finished singing you should have yourself a nice gumbo roux. (about an hour)

Now you should at least be on the better side of your second glass of wine. If not pour another immediately. Add the chicken stock and water, stir in the hot sauce of your choice, the Worcestershire, the black pepper to taste, the bay leaves, sliced tomatoes and halved blue crabs. Simmer lidless for 4 hours.

Now depending on whether you had two or three glasses of red wine, it’s ok to take a 3- hour nap. Just be sure to wake up after three hours cuz now it’s time to add the sausage.

Simmer for another hour, remove heat, cover and let stand to room temperature (or close) then put into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, 48 is better.

When it’s time to eat, reheat over medium until gumbo just starts to simmer. Stir well and add shrimp and oysters. Cook for 10 minutes more then serve up that simmerin’ slice of Cajun heaven over a mess of white rice or on a thick slice of fresh French bread.

It’ll be the best thing you put in your mouth all day…I guarantee!

*Adapted from an original recipe from Judy Hebert (she married a real coon-ass Cajun)

1 lb. Okra

¼ cup flour

½ cup olive oil

1 chopped onion

2 ½ stalks of celery

½ tbls cayenne

1-3 tbls. Hot sauce (your choice)

3 cloves of minced garlic

3 Bay leaves

4 tbls Worcestershire

salt to taste

1-quart reduced sodium chicken stock

2 ½ qts. water

2 diced tomatoes (large pieces)

2 halved Blue crabs or 8 oz. lump crab meat

½ lb. Shrimp

1-pint oysters

1 lb. Boudain sausage (smoked of course)




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