Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gumbo

My husband pimped out my cooking services to one of his coworkers, and convinced me that I needed to make authentic gumbo for a tailgate. I am an idiot, and ended up doubling the recipe needlessly. When I realized that one batch was enough, I decided to forgo the second batch until today because I didn't want my arm to fall off.

That is a little dramatic, yes, but with good cause! You see, in order to make a roux suitable for authentic Cajun gumbo, you need a dark brown roux, which can only be created by standing over the stove and stirring it for 30 minutes. Constantly. With absolutely no breaks.

Roux is thickening agent used in Cajun and Creole cooking, and it is used in many of the more famous foods, like gumbo and etouffee. It isn't difficult to make, but it can take a decent amount of time. Below is the evolution of today's roux.

It began as a cup of vegetable oil and a cup of all-purpose flour...



...and it ended as a flavorful base to our dinner!

My parents are Jews from the Northeast, so any skill that I have developed was from cookbooks. I have been inspired to make dishes from my hometown since I was 19, and my ex-boyfriend's incredibly sweet mother explained all of the uses of a green pepper to me. I realized that I could cook food that people wanted to eat; the sort that others would make excuses to come to your table for. Mrs. Elizabeth made cooking seem so simple, and bought it out of the realm of the unattainable and into the realm of the possible. I'm kind of sad that I never got to tell her how amazing that I think that she is, but that is kind of what happens when you marry someone else! Oh well!

I decided to make Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from the cookbook Cooking Up A Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. I cannot recommend this book enough! So many of these recipes celebrate the "at home" gourmands of the Crescent City, the tradition which has been most threatened by the diaspora of its citizens.


For those of you who are married, the following pictures should inspire a giggle or two. My husband harassed me for hours until he was able to run away with his bowl full of "Precious". Ridiculous man!



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