Thursday, October 1, 2015


Oops! Rod Serling (Twilght Zone) on TV

Fall is my favorite time of year!! The guest cabins are moving into the final months of the season and there's a chill in the air that begs for SOUP!! 

Two days before my son's wedding, I decided to have a little gathering of a few friends at the house. A little insane what with all the activity of the wedding preparations, but it was a good way to alleviate the stress of worrying about all the final details of the wedding. 

A simple menu: gumbo simmered in a cast iron kettle over an open fire, homemade bread that a friend brought, and a field green salad. For dessert, I made "from scratch" hot fudge and served over vanilla ice cream. I'll save the hot fudge recipe for a later date. I will tell you that the hot fudge recipe is easy and tastes like the the best childhood memory you can possibly think of. (Please excuse the "prep"  at the end of the sentence). :) 

A few years ago, Tom and I had a wonderful Louisiana couple as guests staying in one of our cabins. They had these beautiful Louisiana Cajun accents, a blending of English, heavy on Acadian French and even some Native American influence, I knew beyond a doubt that they could fill me in on what went into making a truly authentic gumbo. Clue: IT'S ALL IN THE ROUX. Of course, some of the ingredients I would have liked to have added, like craw fish meat and a few other things, I did not have on hand, so I kind of took liberty with the ingredients. And while some people might be partial to okra, we are not big fans of this oily pod food, although filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants. Hmm, maybe I should reconsider, huh? Be aware that the following is not a precise recipe, I feel that gumbo is not to be prepared with exact ingredients or measure. I'm sure gumbo originated with a "throw it all in the pot" kind of attitude until it looks really good and has the most enticing aroma that your nose will ever smell. Good and wholesome, to be seasoned by your personal taste buds.  So be creative and fun preparing this dish. 

Make a roux by taking a ¼ cup of oil and 4-5 T flour (I quadruple the measure of oil and flour because this will make a nice big pot of gumbo). Constantly stir this mixture (about 30 minutes) until it turns a dark brown and has a lovely nutty aroma. The roux can be made and stored in the fridge several days before making the gumbo.
Boil one whole chicken in a stock pot, along with seasoning of salt and cracked pepper, or whatever seasonings you prefer) until tender. Remove the chicken from the bone and leave separate.
In a pan, sauté chopped onion, green pepper, celery and a clove of minced garlic in olive oil, and then add to the stock. Let simmer for 20 minutes
Add roux and work into the stock. Then add a can of Cream of Shrimp soup. Let the stock thicken a bit.
Brown Andouille sausage. Add to the stock, along with the deboned chicken meat.
Let this simmer for several hours, letting all the juices and meats and veggies make the most wonderful aroma in your kitchen. About half an hour before serving the gumbo, add a pound of large cooked shrimp and a bit of chopped parsley. I like to do this because the shrimp don’t toughen up in the gumbo before serving.  
Serve your gumbo in a beautiful soup bowl over cooked brown rice

I do not give specific amounts, because I believe seasonings (Tom and I like SPICY, so we add Creole seasonings, jalapeño peppers, etc. to the simmering gumbo) and the amounts of veggies and meats of a personal preference. Just go with the flow and let the gumbo evolve. You will end up with a scrumptious winter dish. I serve the gumbo with warm homemade bread. 

ENJOY!!! the French say: SAVOURER 

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