Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Teaser Gumbo - serves a crowd

I'm going to start off by saying this isn't a "quick" recipe that you can just whip out.  And, no, I haven't made it recently because lately, I have felt as if I've been on one of those playground carousels that spins beyond the speed of sound and if I get off, I'm going to be a mess.  No, I fixed this over the summer as we vacationed with the in-laws.  Cooking gumbo during this time with a glass or two (or three) of wine tends to take my mind off, well, I won't go into it, but surely you get where I'm coming from.  With the skies opening up last night that brought us gallons of water and hail in about 20 minutes, a cool, welcomed air followed.  To this I started thinking about the hopeful coming of fall and what it brings with it. Warm stews and hearty meals and of course, football.  It is my hope that such a storm that hit with such velocity kicked this Texas heat out of here along with the mosquito's that have hovered in its wings.  So here's to being hopeful.  If not, I'll just have a glass of wine, hoping the carousel will stop to let me off.  Even for just a bit.

  • 1 pound crab meat without the legs, rinsed well and quartered
  • 1 pound fresh fish, such as trout, skinned and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds andouille or other spicy sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped poblano peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound small okra, stem ends trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup lager beer
  • 10 cups shrimp or fish stock (available in the frozen section of a specialty grocery store)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid crab boil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup cooled Dark Brown Roux, See How To Roux, recipe follows
  • 2 pounds medium (26 to 30 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, see note below
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Steamed White rice, for serving
  • Chopped Green Onion Tops, for serving
*Get Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning located at your local grocery store

Cook the andouille, in batches, in a large stockpot, over medium-high heat until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the andouille with a slotted spoon, place on a paper towel-lined plate, and reserve. Add the vegetable oil to the stockpot and heat with any excess fat from the sausage over medium-high heat. Add the onions, poblanos, and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the okra and cook, stirring, until the vegetable has released most of its slime, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, basil, thyme, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the beer to the vegetable mixture, stirring to incorporate, and then slowly add the stock, stirring well. Add the reserved browned sausage, liquid crab boil, salt, and pepper to the stock and bring mixture to a boil. When mixture is at a boil, add the roux, a little at a time and whisking to incorporate. Wait until mixture returns to a boil before adding more roux. When all of the roux has been added, bring gumbo to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Using a clean ladle, occasionally skim any impurities or foam that rises to the top of the gumbo.
Season the shrimp with the Essence in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp, fish,  to the gumbo, stir well, and cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with chopped green onions tops, if desired.

How to Roux:  (Specialty grocery stores have this available as well should you not want to make it!)
3 cups vegetable oil
5 cups all-purpose flour

Place a heavy, iron , Dutch oven (or iron skillet with deep sides) over medium heat and heat the oil until just smoking. Whisk in flour, a little at a time and cook, whisking constantly, until roux becomes smooth and thick. Continue to cook, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon and reaching all over bottom of pan, until roux darkens to desired color. Be careful not to produce specs of black. The roux must remain an even color throughout process. If specs appear you must start over.
For a Light Brown Roux, cook the mixture, over medium heat for 2 hours, or until the color of chocolate. Remove about 1 cup of the light colored roux, cool completely. 

Yield: about 4 1/2 cups roux

NOTE: The timings for various shades of roux will vary depending on the cooktop as well as the amount of roux made. (A smaller amount will cook in much less time.) If this is your first time making a roux, the slower you cook it, the less likely you will be to burn it. The important thing is to cook the roux to the desired color, as specified above.

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