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Old 07-27-2014, 02:03 AM   #1
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Default Making Gumbo With Pictures!

So I was going to brew today, but I stayed up and drank way too much last night, plus the Arkansas sun is just so intense; rather than waste the day I decided to make some gumbo in the AC.

Gumbo really isn't that difficult to make, and it's true everyone does it different, so this is how I do it.

I start out by boiling some chicken to debone and make the stock with. I always use dark meat, it has so much more flavor for this dish. I buy my chickens whole and cut them up myself because it's way cheaper so I always have 10-15 lbs in the freezer.





While that's starting to cook I need to pick some okra. Now I realize this great vegetable is unknown or strange to many people outside of the south. Okra grows SUPER fast, I have to pick it almost every day. It loves the heat, which is why it's so popular here in the south. The downside to that is, it doesn't store very well. Okra goes down hill in just a few days. Which is why I don't recommend buying it fresh in your grocery store, EVER. If you don't have access to some nice garden okra then do yourself a favor and buy the frozen stuff, usually comes in a bag and is ready to fry, so it will have breading on it already. Soak it in some water for a few minutes to remove the breading and you can use it in gumbo just fine. I'm sure there are dozens of varieties of okra that I don't know about, but there are really only 2 worth mentioning, Burgundy, and Clemson. Clemson is what I grow and it's preferred by almost all okra lovers. It's tender and has a great flavor. Burgundy, is a little tougher, stores slightly better and is typically used for pickling. You can identify burgundy because...well it's burgundy!

When picking okra it's a good idea to wear gloves, the plant itself is evil that way, causes itching and a burning sensation where ever you touch it. If the okra gets much longer than what I have picked today, it's gets really tough and just doesn't taste good no matter how you cook it.


If you don't like okra or you can't get it, then don't worry about it. It e'll still be gumbo without okra, in fact I usually don't add it unless I have access to it in my own garden.



Now, it's time to start the roux. I use about a cup of flour, then I add vegetable oil until it comes together but is still slightly thick. It will get a little thinner as it heats up but thats ok. The main thing here, is to cook it SLOW. The burner should be way down on low, this is gonna take 30 minutes or more. It's going to look like nothing is happening but it just takes time for the roux to reach the desired color. It also smells terrible (at least to me) while it cooks. During the time you MUST stir constantly. If you don't stir enough, or turn the heat up too much the roux will burn, and it happens super quick trust me. If it does burn you'll notice that it has because there will be little tiny black flakes in it. If you try to use that in your gumbo, it will be inedible. Ask me how I know! Thankfully I do not have a picture of burnt roux to show you today.


After 10-15 minutes it still hasn't started to change color, but it will.


Notice a very slight change after about another 5 minutes.



This is about where I wanna get to, next I turn the burner off, cover with a lid and I will still stir a few times while it cools, it will get even darker as it sits in the pot because of all the residual heat. The roux can be used immediately but in this case my chicken wasn't done yet.


When the chicken is done I debone it, and let it hang out for a while. If you add it back too soon it over cooks, get stringy and blah.


Now I gather the rest of my vegetables I'm going to sweat.

I usually use celery, but I didn't have any.

When the veggies are done I add them to the stock, now starts the process of just combining everything.


You can see how thick and dark the roux is now. The stock HAS to be boiling before it thickens. So if you add the roux before it's boiling you won't know how thick it's going to be. If your using okra, that will provide some thickening but not enough to matter. I used maybe a 1/4th of the roux I made, I just didn't need the rest.

I added some oatmeal stout, I dislike hoppy beers in gumbo.

Then i added the chicken.
.

Next I add some smoked sausage. Andouille sausage is the best for gumbo if you ask me, but I didn't have any. Regular Hillshire Farms or whatever you can get smoked sausage is a fine substitute.


Now I put the okra in at the same time I add the shrimp. Of coarse I like crawfish better but shrimp is good too, and it's what I had in the freezer.



Now I added some basic spices to the stock way back at the beginning, but at this point I taste and adjust. Some of the spices I use are ground red cayene pepper, celery seed, black pepper, salt, paprika, sage, cumin, and file. I always wait til the very end to add the file, I think it tastes way better that way. Your probably not going to be able to find file at your local grocery store. Since Katrina we have a lot more Cajun ingredients available here, but still no file so I order mine online. File is ground sassafras, and it really makes gumbo for me.


Gumbo is almost always served over a bed of rice. I use plain long grain brown rice.



And that's really all there is to it. No voo doo involved. To mix it up, sometimes I used smoked turkey legs to serve the gumbo with, or I add oysters at the end instead of shrimp. Tons of ways to make it interesting and take advantage of what's available.

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Old 07-27-2014, 07:47 AM   #2
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Looks like some tasty gumbo! I was a little surprised that you didn't use tomatoes, I've never had gumbo without tomatoes; but as you said, everybody makes it differently.
Regards, GF.

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Old 07-27-2014, 08:18 PM   #3
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That does look good! i love gumbo, being a sort of run-what-ya-brung dish. I've had to use hot dogs today with Hungarian Peppers. sweet peppers & brown rice with this hot curry mixed with General Tsao's kind of sauce my son makes at Custom Culinary. They make sauces & this seasoning sauce stuff for restaurants. Stuff is hot too. I also tossed in drained sweet corn, peas & light red kidney beans too.

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Old 07-27-2014, 10:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
That does look good! i love gimbo, being a sort of run-what-ya-brung dish. I've had to use hot dogs today with Hungarian Peppers. sweet peppers & brown rice with this hot curry mixed with General Tsao's kind of sauce my son makes at Custom Culinary. They make sauces & this seasoning sauce stuff for restaurants. Stuff is hot too. I also tossed in drained sweet corn, peas & light red kidney beans too.
Man oh man, hot dogs or no I'd trade ya a bowl of gumbo for that, problem is I ate the last of it for breakfast!

I have 150 lbs of corn right now, gotta find some things to do with it so that dish sounds kind of along the lines of what I was thinking. I know I've got about 25 lbs of it drying, going to run it through my grain mill to make some grits and maybe some of the rest I'll brew an American Pils with who knows.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:58 PM   #5
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Needed less seasoning/sauce/whatever it is & more water. Got another pouch to play with this week. Used to much of that stuff. Needed more beef broth. Never used it before, so now I know...

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Old 07-27-2014, 11:26 PM   #6
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Nice write-up, looks awesome


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Old 07-28-2014, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estricklin View Post
Man oh man, hot dogs or no I'd trade ya a bowl of gumbo for that, problem is I ate the last of it for breakfast!

I have 150 lbs of corn right now, gotta find some things to do with it so that dish sounds kind of along the lines of what I was thinking. I know I've got about 25 lbs of it drying, going to run it through my grain mill to make some grits and maybe some of the rest I'll brew an American Pils with who knows.
Great pics and write-up. I particularly liked the how-to on roux, seeing as how most books and shows just say "make a dark roux" without explaining.

As for the extra corn, I recently made sweet corn ice cream that was stellar!
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:34 PM   #8
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I used to enjoy making a good roux.........

Ever since I tried Alton Brown's oven roux, I will never go back.

For me, gumbo has to be DARK, and I get that color from the roux. There is a fine line between DARK and burnt, and in a pot stirred by a human, one little bit unstirred will burn.

In the oven, you can get it DARKL and completely evenly cooked. Saves a hell of a lot of time too.

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Old 07-28-2014, 03:35 PM   #9
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Awesome writeup and photos, thanks for sharing. I hail from a long line of coonasses and love a good gumbo. That looks wonderful.

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Old 08-05-2014, 03:00 PM   #10
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Here is my dark roux gumbo. It is a pita to get it that dark with the roux. Thanks for the idea of using stout!
ImageUploadedByHome Brew1407250842.274443.jpg

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