GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken

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mayor al
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2003/04/19 21:40:50 (permalink)

GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken

Tonight on the Food Festivals TV program they visited a Gumbo Festival and contest near N.O.. with a dozen or more entries in each catagory I was surprised to see-
1. The soup was 'thin, but full of chunks of the meat items. We saw NO Rice or Okra or other veggies anywhere in any of the entries.
I had always thought that one of the basic ingredients was Okra, serving as both a veggie and a thickener for the Gumbo. And Rice was also an ingredient either in the soup or a 'lump' of it in the bottom of the bowl or cup.
2. The meat/chicken/seafood was included in very large pieces, whole crabs cooked in the shell, as well as major pieces of chicken noteably legs and wings in their whole condition. I can understand 2-4" pieces of sausage as the way to do it...but the others caught me off guard.
3. Many of the competitors used bottled Roux purchased from grocery stores. I thought that the Roux was what made one person's Gumbo better than someone elses???
One of youKay-John folks set me straight on Gumbo, Please.
AL
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10 Replies Related Threads

    M&M
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/04/21 15:49:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Tonight on the Food Festivals TV program they visited a Gumbo Festival and contest near N.O.. with a dozen or more entries in each catagory I was surprised to see-
    1. The soup was 'thin, but full of chunks of the meat items. We saw NO Rice or Okra or other veggies anywhere in any of the entries.
    I had always thought that one of the basic ingredients was Okra, serving as both a veggie and a thickener for the Gumbo. And Rice was also an ingredient either in the soup or a 'lump' of it in the bottom of the bowl or cup.
    2. The meat/chicken/seafood was included in very large pieces, whole crabs cooked in the shell, as well as major pieces of chicken noteably legs and wings in their whole condition. I can understand 2-4" pieces of sausage as the way to do it...but the others caught me off guard.
    3. Many of the competitors used bottled Roux purchased from grocery stores. I thought that the Roux was what made one person's Gumbo better than someone elses???
    One of you Kay-John folks set me straight on Gumbo, Please.
    AL



    I assume you must have seen something on the Bridge City Gumbo Festival by your description. Gumbo comes in all varieties. Some uses okra as a thickener, some file. But gumbo can be made from whatever happens to be handy. There is even a vegetable gumbo - gumbo z'herbs -traditionally served on New Year's that has no meat. For every different vegetable you add you will supposedly make a new friend during the coming year. I have to say, however, that I have never seen a gumbo without rice. And, here's a little, tip. I've been told by a fairly promiment chef in NOLA that some off-the-shelf roux serves very nicely when you are in a pinch for time. We are headed for Jazz Fest next week and will be enjoying bowls of quail, pheasant and andouille gumbo along with our other samplings at the Fairgrounds.
    #2
    Rick F.
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 12:00:22 (permalink)
    I too have always been told that gumbo can use anything at all, though one division I often see is some kind of fowl paired with sausage gumbo versus seafood gumbo. And I've never heard of gumbo without rice, usuallu put in the bowl first. And roux is easy to make, though tedious; I've tried the bottled kind only once, with palatable but bland results.

    But what I REALLY want to know is why a particularly sticky kind of mud is called gumbo.
    #3
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 12:14:05 (permalink)
    I much prefer gumbo without okra, seems to give it a nasty taste for me. File is my thickener of choice. Just make it with a lot of sausage.
    #4
    Lone Star
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 12:19:48 (permalink)
    Rick - I really don't know why we call that kind of mud "gumbo", but we do. You can be digging to plant in your yard and hit a patch of "gumbo", a wet, thick kind of mud that you have to kind of chunk out like ice cream.
    #5
    Rick F.
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 12:35:27 (permalink)
    I can go either way: I like okra in any form, but it doesn't seem to thicken as well as file powder. And the sausage MUST include good andouille (for which I have a mail-order source in Baton Rouge).

    And I know it's off-topic, but when I lived in TN kids would go "mudding" in their trucks, which were often shod with "buckshot mudders" thought to work exceptionally well in gumbo. Still don't understand the thrill of having to sit in a pick-up while waiting for a farmer with a tractor to pull you out, though!

    Anyhow, in my backyard I don't hit gumbo, I hit water. The joys of LA!
    #6
    kangolpimp
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 12:52:29 (permalink)
    The word Gumbo means okra in one of the African languages (Swahili, I think). To me this suggests that the original gumbos when the recipe was first developed were thickened by okra. What would happen, I wonder, if one used all three thickeners in their gumbo - roux, file, and okra? I think most call for at least two of the three - has anyone made gumbo using all three?
    #7
    Rick F.
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/10 14:38:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kangolpimp: What would happen, I wonder, if one used all three thickeners in their gumbo - roux, file, and okra?

    There's an easy way to find out. Since file is never added while gumbo is cooking and is usually added by each person to his own taste, why not make a pot with both okra and roux? Then you could try it both with and without file. That way you'd also be assured of having the same baseline.
    #8
    tiki
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/15 21:52:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rick F.
    Since file is never added while gumbo is cooking and is usually added by each person to his own taste, why not make a pot with both okra and roux? Then you could try it both with and without file. That way you'd also be assured of having the same baseline.

    remember that file tastes lousy if it sets around to long---like more then 30 mins in my opinion--so only add it what you eat at a sitting--not the pot
    #9
    Rick F.
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/15 22:46:34 (permalink)
    My point exactly: gumbo is a highly individual product. Add file to taste. As TSE said, "Never plagiarize--steal it and make it your own
    quote:
    Originally posted by tiki

    quote:
    Originally posted by Rick F.

    remember that file tastes lousy if it sets around to long---like more then 30 mins in my opinion--so only add it what you eat at a sitting--not the pot
    #10
    Zythos
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    RE: GUMBO- Seafood and Chicken 2003/07/16 02:13:05 (permalink)
    I have a non-okra Gumbo recipe for you!

    Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo

    Serves 25

    1 cup cooking oil
    1 cup all-purpose flour

    4 cloves of garlic, diced
    3 large white onions, chopped
    5 stalks & heads celery, chopped
    2 bell peppers, chopped
    1 tsp. black pepper – coarse grind
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
    1 tsp. Italian herbs
    1 T. Worcestershire sauce
    2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
    3 quarts fish stock – add more water or stock for a thinner batch to be served on rice

    5 lbs. gumbo shrimp – mid 30ish range
    4 lbs. lump crab meat
    2 pints fresh oysters or 6 lbs. steamers

    1/2 cup chopped parsley
    1/2 cup chopped green onions
    2 T. Gumbo File


    In a large cast iron skillet or heavy sauté pan, add the oil. A high flash point oil will reduce the time needed to make the roux. Heat the oil on high heat until the pan is smoking hot, carefully whisk in the flour and reduce the heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Stir the mixture constantly for 30-45 minutes or until a dark brown color and nutty aroma develops. Remove from heat for a few minutes before adding the garlic to prevent burning.

    Fry garlic in this roux. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add celery,
    bell pepper, black pepper, salt, Tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.

    Cook vegetables and then add three quarts of fish stock (recipe below). Allow the
    liquid to come to a boil and simmer while preparing the shrimp, crab and oysters/steamers.

    Using 2 cubes Knorr fish bouillon and 1 ½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning, precook the shrimp in a little boiling water. Drain, cool and peel the shrimp. Again, using the fish bouillon and Old Bay, bring the oysters to a boil in water until they just curl. Drain and cool. If using steamers (clams) instead of oysters, using the same procedure and seasonings, steam the clams, then shuck and clean before adding to the final boil.

    After cleaning the lump crab for any odd shell fragments, add crab the meat and cook for another ten minutes.

    Add parsley and chopped green onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, oysters/clams and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. At the very last add the file gumbo, blend well and remove from the heat and allow it to thicken.

    Allow the gumbo to set and when reheating, simmer gently and serve with cooked rice if desired.

    Fish Stock - Cooking down about 2 pounds of fish scraps or a mess of shellfish scraps can make the fish stock. In a small stockpot, add just enough water to cover. Add salt to taste and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the stock before using.


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