This recipe idea makes twelve main-dishes or eighteen appetizer servings (ne pourrait jamais comprendre pourquoi il servir en ape'ritif, tout vous est demander un recharge; or in English: (Never could figure why serve it as an appetizer, all you will do is ask for a refill) of a Louisiana dish that is made for holidays, sometimes on Sundays, most often in winter when it was cold, and for special company. So "Gumbo Night" was an special occasion. Served with plain white rice, potato salad, or a baked sweet potato but the star attraction will always be the gumbo. This will be a real party, since supper was usually just fresh-baked bread with butter, preserves, or syrup, and milk back in the good "ole de la Louisiane".
This Cajun soup almost always contains a cooked dark roux and darker the better (see previous articles on how to prepare a roux) , and it is sometimes thicken with okra or gumbo file'. This dish is cooked for fairly long periods of time over high head. If your gas burner or electric cooking element produces a very high heat, or if you pot is not a heavy one, you will need to adjust the temperature down. It is said that there are as many different kinds of gumbo as there are cooks, handed down from generation to generation. But it is always unique and delicious. When starting this idea, I research my book case and found over seventy different recipes
Note, never strain gumbo and serve gumbo with plain boiled rice.
Start with three pounds peeled small shrimp (could be whole shrimp). Or start with a catfish fillets or even whole fish, lump crab meat , turkey or turkey leg, chicken, oysters, Andouille sausage, pork roast, burgundy beef (lean stew meat or round steak cut in small cubes, duck, goose, just greens, okra, fresh fish other than catfish, dried shrimp, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, tasso (that is smoked pork), guinea hen, smoked sausage, seafood, egg and fried shrimp, salt meat, just okra and tomatoes, canned seafood (shrimp, clams, crab meat, or any combination), turkey bones with a little meat left on, fat hen, ham hock, bacon, craw fish tails, even live crabs, or diced scallops. I told you this is easy to make or think up how to make.
Now one tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, in all; or salt and pepper, Worcestershire, Tabasco, thyme, ground bay leaves, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, chili pepper, all spice, file', paprika, lite salt, white pepper, or K's seasoning which contains black pepper, garlic pepper, onion powder, nutmeg, accent, dried parsley flakes, cayenne red pepper and chili pepper. Let your taste buds decide.
My way would be just the salt, in all and 2 teaspoons, in all, ground red pepper (preferably cayenne), and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Now you see why I am "cranky" after preparing one of these articles.
Next comes 2 cups finely chopped onions, in all, and 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers. A small head of cabbage, fresh chopped spinach, chopped mustard greens, chopped turnip greens, celery, bell peppers of any color, okra, can or fresh tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes tomato paste, chopped onions, sliced carrots, green onions, cream style corn, or just 3 cups of chopped vegetables. Head ache yet? Just remember to have the basic blend of onions, green onions, celery, bell pepper with minced garlic, and cut okra. Remember this is a Louisiana Classic.
Now 1 cup vegetable oil, in all and 1 cup vegetable oil, in all with 1 cup all-purpose flour.
Take 1 1/2 pounds okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 1/2 quarts sliced). Wipe the okra with a dry kitchen towel instead of washing it, to keep the okra from getting slimy. Prepare 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes. Get three quarts, in all, of a very basic sea food stock which is made by using 1 1/2 to 2 pounds rinsed shrimp heads and/or shells, or crawfish heads and/or shells, or crab shells (2 21/1 to 3 quarts) or any combination of these. (You can substitute oyster liquor for all or part of the seafood stock). Start with cold water and gently simmer at least 4 hours. Remember any sea food stock is better than water even if it is simmered only 20 to 30 minutes. Cooking with the remains of cooking seafood sure saves costs and the garbage disposal use.
I could go on for a while more but this is enough ideas for one reading. I wonder if I prepared and canned 65 different kinds of Gumbo and advertised a Gumbo Night in one of our leading eating establishments that the Kennett folks would come out and try some of Eiker's Burgoo of Gumbo ideas? Costs would be varied due to what you put in the Gumbo. Your know crab gumbo or seafood gumbo would cost more than greens gumbo or just okra and tomatoes gumbo. I also made some southwest salsa with the cactus growing on West Fifth Street this past week. I kept looking at the cactis plant as I drove by occasionally and finally stopped and asked if I could have five leaves to cook. She was excited and even put on her rubber gloves and cut the parts off the plant. Get the parts before they turn tough and wow do I have some good salsa and even pickled some pieces for a quick bite. See ya.
Have a Happy.