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Mon, Jan. 9th, 2006, 03:45 pm
So. Gumbo

A few of you at the new years party were wondering about the gumbo I made, and how I made it. Seeing as this one was probably the best one I've ever made I figure I may as well post the recipe and technique and whatnot. I make particular reference to *how* I made it this time because the meat was a lot more tender than usual.

Take one big saucepan, or a wok, both have worked for me. The saucepan I used this time cost 20 euro in tescos and was about 10" diameter and 12" tall. You will also need a wooden spoon or something similar to stir with that has a good long handle.

The Gumbo: I'm not using precise measurements here because
a) I didn't keep track of them
b) That isn't the spirit of gumbo.

Part 1: Roux

Roux is the bit of the recipe that renders the whole thing entirely unhealthy. Take one cup of flour and about five or six cups of oil. I used sunflour oil but you can use whatever the hell oil you like, sunflour is cheap though and relatively tasteless, which is what you're going for as a base. Stir the oil and flour together and heat it until the mixture turns the colour of milky coffee. Take it off the heat and go on to step 2.

Step 2: The MEAT
You'll want about three chorzio sausages or something that approximates that spelling. Cut them into segments about half an inch long. Take three chicken breasts and chop them into similar sized chunks. Fry the chicken in a pan until cooked (I used olive oil for this one) and then chuck in the sausages and fry the whole thing until everything is coated in the red sausage oil and the sausages are hot through (about five minutes tops). Take it off the heat and go on to step three. I've included extra sausage in the recipe becuase you're guaranteed to be taking chunks off the pan and eating it during step three.

Step 3: The veg
Slice four or five medium sized carrots, two onions, four stalks of celery, a dozen mushrooms, two peppers (whatever colour you like), three tomatoes and any other vegetables you like the look of. Baby sweetcorn, sweet potato, turnips and spuds all work pretty well but the ones I listed seem to work the best because they're all nice and soft.

Step 4: The seasoning.
For this you can buy some pre-prepared cajun spices or go to the hassle of making your own. I've done both and to be honest the pre-prepared stuff generally wins out on the basis of price alone. Making your own is nice for the sense of acomplishment but you'll be hard pressed to notice the difference in taste.
Take about two heaped teaspoons of this and put it in a bowl.
Then take three or four of the big chillis (one or two of the tiny ones), cut them open, remove the seeds and wash them. [1]. Turn on the oven really hot and bake the chillis for a few minutes until they're soft and a little blackened [2]. Take them out, chop them fine and put them to one side. We roast the chillis to remove the heat from them - we're using them purely for taste and we're using the spices for heat since the spices are more controllable.
Take four chicken stock cubes and mix them in a mug of boiling water. Put it aside too.

Step 5: Mixing
Put the roux back on the heat again and simmer the oil until it turns a dark coffee colour. Once this happens turn the heat off again and carefully (since you're messing with boiling oil here) add the vegetables (making sure you leave enough space for the meat) and stir them into the roux. Let it all sit for a minute before adding in the meat and the red oil from the pan (which is what will give the food most of its colour). Stir that in too. Add in the chillis and the chicken stock and fill the pan up as far as you can with boiling water and stir that as well.
Now turn the heat back on at medium and keep stirring while the mix starts to simmer, then turn it up to full so it boils vigorously for about ten minutes and keep stirring to stop the mix from sticking. Turn the heat off, put the gumbo to one side and leave it for about two hours. There is no scientific reason for this but its what I did and it turned out really well, I think it gives the sausages time to absorb the liquids and softens them or something.

While you're waiting, boil up some rice and let it cool off, the cold or lukewarm rice works well with the hot stew.

Two hours later, turn the heat back on low and simmer the mixture for about forty minutes. During this time give it a taste, since the chillis have added their heat and flavour to the mix, add in the cajun spices bit by bit until its as hot as you like it.

Eat, enjoy, send me money. I'll post the korma recipe another time if anyone is interested.

[1] once you're done with the chillis you might as well save time and to straight to the stage where you rub your fingers in your eyes and then go to the toilet and wipe your ass with some tissue - yes, the trace amount of chilli juice left on your fingers after washing your hands gets on the tissue and is enough to ensure you never sit down again. For bonus points, ladies may also wipe elsewhere and begin praying for death.

[2] For the love of God be careful at this point, if you burn the chillis they release a gas that will make you cough, choke and vomit. Your eyes will burn, your nose will stream and become blocked and you'll be in serious discomfort, if not pain for hours afterwards. It is also a sod to get the fumes out of the house.

Mon, Jan. 9th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)

Bugger....now I really am hungry.

Having eaten my apple and banana I'm down to one of my shoes or some paper clips...hmm.....

Mon, Jan. 9th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)

...and I can't stop singing that bloody Carpenter's song now!!

Sing along, you know the words!!

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
For tonight, I’m a-gonna see my my-my cher a mi-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit far and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

(not so sure about the line with the guitar and fruit in it...)

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)

No kidding - every time I cook the thing I have to sing the copa cobana to myself to get it out of my head.

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)

What...naked? With "the feathers"?....yeah...me too...
(Deleted comment)

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)

I'm like a hairy nigella lawson I am.

Mon, Jan. 9th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)

Mr Wombat does make exceedingly good gumbo.

Mon, Jan. 9th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)

Ehm... hang on did you just add boiling water to a boiling oil solution?...

Won't the water sink to the bottom and then turn to steam as the oil is much hotter than 100 degrees resulting in at worst an explosion and at best a lot of oil in your face?

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)

Nope, the veg gets added to the boiling oil which absorbs the heat much better. *then* you stir in the veg making sure that the roux coats them all (kind of like a batter) and then you add the water. By that point the oil has cooled down to something you could safely handle.