Thursday, March 11, 2010
Vegetables browned in the roux
In the past I have not had luck with my gumbo making attempts. I decided the problem lay in my roux...it was just too darn greasy. I was using unclarified butter, but now I use canola oil and it is all good. Roux is traditionally equal parts flour and fat browned to your desired color...white for maybe a bechamel sauce, blond for a veloute sauce...etc. Learn more about the "Mother sauces" of French cuisine here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauce#Sauces_in_French_cuisine Gumbo is thickened and flavored with a dark brown roux. The longer you cook your roux the darker it will be. Although people claim "gumbo" was a well thought out creation, I think someone was trying to make one of the mother sauces, darkened the roux too much and in an attempt to save their job they called it gumbo. Nice save. The word "gumbo" comes from the Angolan word meaning "okra." Gumbo can be thickened using either the vegetable okra, file powder (dried sassafras), or by a brown roux. This gumbo recipe uses a roux, but next time I plan on trying it with okra instead. The more modern recipes use a combination of two of the thickeners...most commonly roux and okra. If you really want good gumbo go to Lafayette and get one of my Aunts to make you some, my gumbo does not even stand on the same playing field as theirs
My humble attempt at gumbo recipe:
In large saucepan brown:
2 large links of andouille sausage chopped (or if you can't find that a smoked sausage will do)
Remove from pan and then brown:
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped
Remove from pan and then make the roux in the same pan:
1/2 cup canola oil (or clarified butter) (only use 1/2 cup of oil because the drippings from browning the meats should be about 1/2 cup...therefore you end up with 1 cup of fat)
1 cup flour
- using a whisk continuously stir flour and fat over med/high heat until roux is a dark paste...basically the color of chocolate. You will think you have burnt it, but you haven't...unless it is black, you should be good. It took me about 10 minutes to get mine dark enough.
Once roux is dark brown add vegetables and brown about 5 minutes over medium heat, constantly stirring:
2 onions chopped
6 celery ribs chopped
2 bell peppers chopped
1 jalapeno diced fine
2 cloves garlic diced fine
Once vegetables are browned put the meats back into the pot and then cover with 8 cups of chicken broth. I used Tony's to season my gumbo, but if you don't have access to that season with salt, pepper, and some cayenne pepper. Everyone likes different degrees of hotness so season to your own liking.
Bring gumbo to a boil and then simmer for 40-60 minutes over medium heat.
Serve over rice accompanied by a large hunk of French bread.
At the end of the dinner, If you can see the bottom of the pot, consider the yourself a winner!