Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.
I went for a seafood gumbo, using crabs and prawns, bulked out with a bit of chicken on the bone because things like oysters are expensive here.
1 cup Duck Fat
1 cup flour
2 large onions, diced
2 blue swimmer crabs, quartered
1 chicken maryland & 1 chicken breast on the bone
1/2 kg chorizo
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green capsicum, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
250 gm sliced fresh okra, ½ -inch slices
Sprig of fresh thyme
2 litres chicken stock
2 bay leaves
300gm peeled and deveined medium shrimp.
1 cup (240 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) minced green onions (scallions, or spring onions)
Freshly ground black pepper
Basic Creole Spices, to taste (recipe below)
4-6 cups cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe follows)
1. Prepare stock.
2. Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices.
3. Prepare all vegetables and meat… cut, dice, chop, mince! You must stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.
4. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the duck fat over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.
5. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
6. Add the blue swimmer crabs, chicken and smoked sausage and stir for a minute before adding the celery, bell peppers, garlic, and okra. Increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
7. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
9. Add the shrimp and green onions to the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Make sure everything is ready to serve before adding the shellfish to the gumbo. DO NOT OVERCOOK your shellfish.
10. Season with salt and pepper, Creole Spices, and hot sauce.
11. Serve in bowls over rice.
Delicious. The creols spices and Louisiana rice added extra depth to it, recipes are as follows:
Basic Louisiana White Rice
Adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Servings: About 4 cups
1 tablespoon (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) chicken fat, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter
1 small onion, minced
1½ cups (360 m) ((280 gm) (10 oz) Louisiana (or another long-grain white rice)
3 cups (750 ml) Basic Chicken Stock
1 bay leaf
1-2 pinches salt
1. Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Add the bay leaf and salt.
5. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.
Basic Creole Spices
From My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Makes ½ cup
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (33 gm) celery salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) sweet paprika
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (18 gm) coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (6 gm) freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) onion powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (4 gm) cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice
Mix together all spices in a bowl. Transfer the spices to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Store up to six months.
Finally, I made a Pecan Pie to finish things off.
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
125gm butter, cold and diced
Mix dry ingredients together, rub in butter until the whole mixture is gritty (like cornmeal) with some bigger (pea sized) lumps of butter remaining. Add lightly beaten egg and stir until just combined. Press into a flat disc, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for half an hour minimum.
Roll out to 30cm round, about 5mm thick. Press into a 9″ pie dish, and use foil or baking powder to fill the centre for blind baking. Bake at 200c for 20 minutes or so. (This is a good time to prepare the filling below). Remove blind baking weights. Either return pie without weights to the oven for 5-10 minutes, or if you prefer a softer crust, move immediately to filling and final baking. (follow filling recipe)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup
2 cups pecans (whole, sliced, raw, toasted… whatever your preference)
3 eggs, lightly beaten.
2 tsp vanilla
Combine butter, sugar and syrup in a pan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Take off heat and add vanilla and pecans. Mix through. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. After sugar mixture has cooled for 5-10 minutes, mix eggs through, and stir with a fork until well combined.
With pie crust blind baked and filling prepared, add the filling to the crust (just pour it in!). Cook at 180c for 40-45 minutes. Edges should be firm, and centre still a little soft. It will harden as it cools. Set it aside, and serve with cream. (Whipped with maple syrup!)