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Need a good gumbo recipe . . .

edited 9:46PM in EggHead Forum
. . . after a month of no rain we're getting a nice cool shower all day today in NW GA. Thinking of trying a gumbo for the first time in a long while and need a good tasty recipe. Anyone got a sure fire "go to" gumbo recipe?

Also, anyone ever tried the microwave roux I saw Alton Brown do on Good Eats one time?


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,546
    this is the one i follow, its more a technique than an actual recipe as i add whatever i have. wil is chef wil that used to post here years ago, one of the better cooks from the past
  • JLOCKHART29JLOCKHART29 Posts: 5,897
    Was wonderfull!! You can sub meats for the duck but a rich form of sausage really makes this.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    All things Cajun

    I was turned on to these pages a while back. If I want a Cajun dish this is where I go. Haven't been let down yet.

    Now if I can just find a job this quick..
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Sorry, but I can't get my mind around any "shortcut" roux. Just bite the bullet and stand at the stove for 45 minutes or so and do it right. The result speaks for itself.

    I took a Spatchcocked chicken (made two earlier in the week) and picked most of the meat. Then I threw the carcass and skin into a pot with half a bottle of white wine, some herbs and about a gallon of water.

    While the broth is cooking, you need to spend a lot of time at the cutting board. Chop up 2-3 bell peppers, 1 or 2 jalapenos (depending on size), a large onion, a pound and a half of fresh okra (or bagged frozen), a couple of large tomatoes and enough garlic to satisfy your group....for us that means 8 or 9 cloves.

    One recipe I have says to brown the veggies, except the okra, in oil and set aside. Another has you cook them in the roux once it's complete. I've tried it both ways, and honestly can't tell much difference. I think I prefer the browned method.

    I cut a pound of andouille into 3/4" chunks and browned them in a cast iron skillet, reserving the fat as the foundation for my roux. You can, at this point also fry up some bacon to generate some more fat. I had some bacon grease saved, so I used it.

    The secret to a good roux is equal parts flour and fat, moderately high heat and constant stirring. I have a wire whisk and a cast iron skillet that I have always used. For a gallon of broth and a mound of vegetables I make a roux that is about a half inch deep in my 12 inch CI skillet. Cook it till it reminds you of melted chocolate chips.

    Now you have four components, roux, broth, meat and vegetables. Combine them in a large pot and bring to a boil. Don't let it roll very long -- a couple of minutes at most -- then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer with a cover for about a half an hour and then taste. At this point, depending on how you seasoned the stock and whether or not you used bacon, you most likely will want to add some salt. I don't start adding heat until I'm happy with the salt. I also try to make my gumbo hot enough for the least heat tolerant person in the crowd and make everyone else add to their bowl. However, I think pepper sauce cooks in better than it sits on, so some goes in.

    Simmer for as long as you can stand it. Cook some good quality white rice (don't spend an hour cooking a roux and then serve it over Minute Rice). About 20 minutes before serving, add a pound (more or less to taste) of gulf shrimp. If you can find fresh oysters and your audience likes them, throw them in, too.

    Gumbo can be made from most anything, as far as the meat component goes. I think poultry and sausage work great together in soups and stews. I love gumbo that has a lot of fresh seafood in it, but here in Missouri, it's hard to find. I grew okra this year, and have gumbo'ing up a storm all year.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Gumbo du Monde on the linked page reflects my feelings about the dish. You must make the stock and you must cook the roux (or it's just soup).
  • Here are three from my Acadian file that have all be "tested" here at Dad's
    Enjoy, Spuds

    "Big Easy" SHRIMP GUMBO
    Voodoo Cafe'
    From JB
    Serves 6

    1 T. olive oil
    1 Lg. minced onion
    1 each, red and green Bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    2 ribs celery, finely minced
    5 cloves minced garlic
    1 t. paprika
    1/2 t. rosemary
    1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
    Salt to taste
    1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
    3 C. water (you may need to add more, depending on how "soupy" you want your soup
    1 C. brown rice
    1 lb. peeled, divined shrimp
    1 to 2 t. crushed red pepper or a few dashes of Tabasco (to taste)

    1)) Heat oil in a heavy stock pot or Lg. sauté pan. Add onion, peppers and celery. Sauté until just soft.

    2)) Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes (until the rice is done).

    Serve with a cold dark beer, your favorite crackers and a bottle of Tabasco, if a little more "heat" is deemed necessary.

    Voodoo Cafe'
    From JB
    Serves 4

    3 T. olive oil
    3 T. flour
    1 Lg. onion, minced
    2 ribs celery, minced
    1 each red and green Bell pepper, chopped
    1 lb. package frozen sweet corn
    3 bay leaves
    1-1/2 t. dried thyme
    1 t. dried oregano
    1/4 t. fresh-ground black pepper
    2 t. salt
    1 to 2 T. Gumbo File'
    1/4 t. cayenne pepper (to taste)
    6 to 8 C. crushed tomatoes
    (or 1-28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and 2-14 oz. cans of chopped)
    1 qt. water
    1/2 to 3/4 lb. smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices,
    Fresh sausage will need to be pre-cooked (** see note).
    1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

    1)) Starting with a Lg..stock pot. Add 1 qt. water, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the meat and cut into small chunks.

    2)) In a sauté pan, heat the oil over med. high heat. Whisk in the flour until starting to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Take caution, not to burn the roux.

    3)) Reduce the heat to moderately low. Stir in the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook until starting to soften, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the corn, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    4)) Ass to the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

    5)) Add the chicken and sausage, cook until just done (about 15 minutes). Stir in the file' and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes

    To serve; put a mound of rice in the center of each bowl. Ladle the gumbo around the rice.

    JB's Tip
    If you can find it, use Andouille sausage! It truly is one of the finest contributions the French made to Cajun cooking. It is a full-flavored sausage with garlic and spicy hot seasonings, sometimes smoked, other times fresh. If you can't find it, substitute a garlic sausage or top quality smoked kielbasa.
    When using fresh sausage: I like to par-boil, then slice/dice and brown the sausage before adding it to the gumbo. I feel it adds an extra flavor! I will, sometimes, also add a bit of liquid smoke, to add that smoky touch.

    Serve a sturdy red wine with this hearty gumbo.

    Voodoo cafe'
    From JB
    Serves 8

    2 lbs. med. sized shrimp, in the shell
    1-1/2 lbs. smoked sausage (Andouille, if you can find it)
    1/2 C. olive oil
    2 lg. bell peppers, one red, one green diced
    4 ribs celery, diced
    2 lg. onions, diced
    4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/4 C. fresh parsley, chopped
    1 t. basil
    1-1/2 t. thyme (both dried herbs, rubbed)
    1 t. red pepper flakes
    1/2 C. flour
    1 (28oz.) can diced tomatoes
    4 bay leaves
    2 t. salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    5 to 6 C. hot fish stock
    1 lb. frozen okra, whole or sliced (see note)
    1 lb. frozen whole kernel sweet corn
    2 to 3 C. oysters
    1 lb. crab meat
    1 to 2 T. gumbo file' (see note)

    1)) Rinse, peel and devein the shrimp and set aside. Place the shrimp shells in a large stock pot, cover with 7 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours and use as fish stock. (If desired, add a sliced onion, bay leaf and a few celery ribs to the stock pot.)

    2)) Cut the sausage crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Using a large heavy pot or kettle (at least 5 quarts), heat 1/4 C.of the oil. Add the sausage, bell peppers, celery, onions, garlic, parsley or basil, thyme and hot pepper flakes.

    3)) Sauté over low heat 7 or 8 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the bell pepper is tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and vegetables from the pot and set aside.

    4)) Add the remaining 1/4 C. oil to the pot and stir in the flour, mixing briskly with a wire whisk. Cook the flour-oil mixture over moderate low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the flour turns the shade of a walnut or peanut, but not deep brown. This is the roux. Watch carefully and don't allow the flour to burn. (If the flour burns, discard and start over.)

    5)) Return the sausage and vegetables to the pot. Then, stir in the tomatoes with the tomato juice; bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring briskly, breaking up the tomatoes into small pieces, and cook over high heat for 3 or so minutes. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce 30 minutes longer, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

    6)) Without increasing the heat, strain the fish stock and pour about 5 cups of the broth into the gumbo pot, stirring until well-blended. If the gumbo sauce is bubbling, reduce the heat a bit. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until the liquid thickens to the consistency of heavy maple syrup.

    7)) Stir into the pot the okra and cook for about 20 minutes. Then add the corn, shrimp and oysters and cook, stirring gently from time to time, over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and tender.

    8)) Taste the gumbo and add more salt, black pepper or hot pepper flakes, and the gumbo filé, if desired. If you prefer the gumbo thinner, stir in the remaining fish stock.

    Serve with steamed rice, either white or brown. Put a mound of rice in the center of each bowl. Ladle the gumbo around the rice.
    The Gumbo can be made a day or so ahead when entertaining. It ages well.

    JB's TIPS
    I have read that most professional chefs say it is sinful to use both okra and file' in the same Gumbo....I have no opinion...I'm far from professional.

    And, what is Gumbo file'...? It is dried sassafras leaves; a flavor technic borrowed from Native Americans.

    Andouille sausage is one of the finest contributions the French made to Cajun cooking. It is a full-flavored sausage with garlic and seasonings. If you can't find it, substitute a garlic sausage or top quality smoked kielbasa.

    Lastly: The flavor of a browned roux does add a different flavor to most anything and some "purists" feel strongly that it is essential to the traditional taste of Louisiana gumbo.
    It is not hard to do, but caution must be used, as to not burn it. If it does burn, toss it out and start over!
    And....Don't worry if the flour mixture looks like peanut butter by the time the vegetables have softened. That's just as it should be!
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 6,746
    That's a great link...
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,436
    Nice post! These posts (and UnYawn's gumbo from this past weekend at the Royal) have me jonesin' for some gumbo, and this is a very helpful writeup. Thanks for taking the time!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Spring HenSpring Hen Posts: 1,564
    Pete...what happened to your job? Are you going to be able to come to Atlanta?
    Covington, Louisiana USA
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    At this point my chances of going to Atlanta are slim to none.

    Bottom line is I made a mistake due to an unclear instruction with a high profile customer.

    So anybody need a network Security Engineer who can cook??
  • Bobby-QBobby-Q Posts: 1,993
    Really makes me miss those old days when I was just a lurker. Chef Wil was always one of my favorites.

    Are you lucky enough to have any of his seasoning up at your place?
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    While I enjoy most of Alton Brown's shows their are a few that just don't sit well with me.

    The true worth of a roux does not show up until what you have added the roux to boils. Microwaves are good for popcorn and heating frozen entrees.

    Superlative cooking takes time. Where is the love in a microwave???
  • Bobby-QBobby-Q Posts: 1,993
    You ain't kidding. I've got all kinds of Nawlins stuff on my mind now between this one and the thread on Ray's forum about where to eat in New Orleans.

    I'm either gonna do some stuff tonight to take to Covington this weekend or do a whole batch of stuff exhausted on Sunday.

    It was great hanging with y'all this weekend, hope we get to do it again next year out there.
  • I like the idea of you cooking something tonight for Covington this weekend LOL :laugh:
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,546
    wish i had some of his rubs, the only thing cajun up here is lysanders rub and i bet that doesnt compare. his post on crab cakes blew me away, ive never had a good one, maybe this weekend
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    You're welcome, Nature Boy. Just finished off a couple bowls of left over for lunch. Might even be better the second day. I love the flavor that smoked chicken (or turkey for that matter) adds to gumbo. The Spatchcocked chicken was perfect.

    Everyone interested in gumbo should read the "Gumbo du Monde" recipe from Celtic Wolf's link. The writer knows gumbo, knows cooking and knows how to write. His directions for stock are impressive, but he left out the wine and I don't think he has thought about the advantages of smoked chicken, yet.
  • Spring HenSpring Hen Posts: 1,564
    Oh man, that's a bummer - in two ways. I hate that happened to you at work but now who am I going to pick on in Atlanta?????? Good luck on your job hunt!
    Covington, Louisiana USA
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,436
    Thanks Jeff
    I did read and print that recipe, and it's always nice to be reminded of the importance of the extra steps like making your own broth, and even the little details like browning the chicken before using it in the broth. There is much value for the taste buds to taking that extra time in the kitchen to achieve the rich flavor a good gumbo needs. Love the little bit about the importance of the shrimp heads too!

    He also talks about the time needed to make a good roux. But if you look at many of the recipes out there, they make it sound like you can get a good roux in a few minutes. Some of the recipes don't even use a roux.

    Thanks again. I just learned a bunch about gumbo thanks to yall.
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    If you're a cookbook reader, check out Justin Wilson. He was a Cajun celebrity chef before celebrity chefs existed. His cookbook (at least the one I have) is filled with little stories that go along with the recipes. Before I read his cookbook, grilling was about all the cooking I ever did. His leftover Thanksgiving gumbo was one of the first things I ever cooked inside (excluding a couple years of bachelor survival between Mom and my wife).

    His take on roux is that there is no substitute for a pan cooked roux, that blonde roux is for gravy, not gumbo, and that gumbo without roux is soup.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    So far you have some great information, if you want to tie some visuals to the steps in a gumbo, I have a gumbo page on my site. There very may well be a tip or two you can pick-up on and use.

    I was introduced to the microwave roux from Tout de Suite a la Microwave, I had a copy in the early 80's. This technique does work well, but since you can't do the constant stirring like a traditional roux, it's kind of a hassle (and dangerous too) to remove the hot roux from the microwave every 30 seconds or so for whisking.

    I briefly discuss TonyC's instant roux in my write up partially because it does provide a roux flavor, but mostly because using it reduces the calories and fats a considerable amount.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,546
    one thing with this recipe is that it is way easier to make the roux on the stove top, then cook the gumbo on the egg if your going that route. i get the roux darker than most ive seen, gives it a real rich flavor, just dont burn it
  • I've seen the roux Alton Brown did in the oven, but never the microwave. Are you sure it was a microwave? He made a point of using the oven stating that he had better temp control and no risk of burning the roux.
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