Monday, April 21, 2008

Comfort Food

Yesterday with the temperatures at a balmy 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit and a mixture of rain, hail and the occasional snow flake, I thought it would be a good time to make a large pot Gumbo. If you're unfamiliar with this culinary yummy, it's a hearty soup that is very popular in the southern U.S., more specifically, Louisiana. It takes a while to prepare, but boy is it worth it!

It can be made from any number of foods found in the kitchen, but the one I learned to cook has chicken and Andouille sausage as the main ingredients. You start by cutting the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and sprinkling them with a mixture of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. After about thirty minutes of this dry marinade you coat them with flour and brown them in very hot lard. (ya, this isn't exactly health food)

After all the chicken has been cooked and set aside you add flour to the lard and make a roux. This is one of the most crucial parts of the whole recipe and it can not be rushed! Plan on staying at the stove stirring it constantly for about 45 minutes. Low heat and a watchful eye are paramount in this step. If you burn it, throw it out and start over again. I guarantee you will not disguise the flavor of a burnt roux. You'll know it's ready when your arm is about to fall off and it has a nice mahogany color to it. (the photo to the right is at about 30 minutes of cooking)

It's now time to add the onion, bell pepper and celery. These get cooked in the roux for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent. Next comes the chicken stock. Homemade is definitely the way to go here. Store bought (or canned) can be used, but the flavor isn't as good by any means and they also tend to have way too much salt in them.

After the stock comes to a boil,in goes the chicken and sliced sausages. After about 20 minutes another key ingredient is added, okra. Now if your nose just wrinkled up at the thought of eating okra, (like mine did the first time I saw the recipe) rest easy. With all the other flavors in the pot it just blends right in. Now I know it's not the flavor that most people find objectionable, it's the texture, but let me assure you that is not an issue either. In fact it is absolutely necessary for the soup. The physical characteristic of the okra is what thickens the soup perfectly.

From here the Gumbo is ready to enjoy. Put a small scoop of cooked white rice in a bowl, ladle some Gumbo over the top and garnish with a little chopped parsley and green onion.

Mmmmmm. . . . . Good!

The recipe I use is straight out of a cookbook I have titled, "Cajun-Creole Cooking" by Terry Thompson. If you want the actual recipe email me and let me know. I'll be happy to share it with you. I didn't want to post it because of respect for the copyright.

Oh, by the way, we had a green salad and some crab stuffed mushrooms to go with the Gumbo.

Bon Appetite!


Giggle! said...


it's me (vbf) *GiGGLeS*

I've changed my name! :-)

buffalodickdy said...

I usually make jambalaya because a good roux takes awhile! That looked treat!

Dana said...

... and I like it when you talk food!

Mel said...

Holy moley!

Suddenly I'm hungry....
And--the salad looks awesome!

Suppose somethin' good would come if I let himself see the post?
(got him trained to do the cookin' yaknow!)

Thinkin' NOTHIN' good would come, showin' him this at six in the mornin'......LOL

<--- will lay in wait........

Leighann said...


nitebyrd said...

OMG! That looks and sounds FABULOUS! The BEST part is that YOU, Jeff, cooked it! Yummy!

CrystalChick said...

Wow, looks great. Our flight leaves in 45 mins. See you and Lisa in about 5or 6 hours, right?? You and hubby can talk construction while cleaning up after dinner and me and wifey can SHOP!?

Matt-Man said...

Yum-Oh!! I love soup. I lost about 70 pounds by eating nearly nothing but soup. Never get tired of it. Cheers Jeff!!

Gene Bach said...

Oh gumbo, that would be the stuff I wanted you to make and never saw any. Oh yeah, I remember now...


Jeff B said...

Giggle- I like the new name and avatar!

Buffalo- I think a fence picket could taste good if it was done Cajun style. I like it all.

Dana- Sounds like we could keep each other entertained for hours.

Mel- Agreed. Your chances of inspiring himself will be much better later in the day.

Leighann- It's pretty tasty

Nitebyrd- Lisa liked that part too. and get this, I even cleaned the kitchen too!

Crystalchick- Come on over, we'll have a great time, and the shooping is fine as long as you bring YOUR visa card.

Matt- Dang, that's impressive. I'm sure you'd like this one then.

Gene- Wait....ok, now I've got my violin. Let me play a sad tune to go along with your sad story.

I'm getting all misty eyed just thinking about how rough you've got it.


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Yummy. Love it all and I really love crab filled mushrooms. Yummy. Now I'm hungry. Have a great day. :)

Jay said...

Mmmmmmmm ... Gumbo! Love Gumbo!

Real Live Lesbian said...

You are the sexiest man on the planet! Along with Buffalodickdy and Doggybloggy, that is.

Men that cook give me a little tingle! ;)

Bond said...

I love gumbo.... never put okra in mine though..will have to try it out

Akelamalu said...

I always wondered what Gumbo was! Thanks for the recipe.

gypsy-heart said...

It is dinner time here now. After reading your post I find my little meal somewhat lacking!

I wish we had one person here that liked to cook!

Thanks for sharing this with us..even if only visually. :)

Rhea said...

That looks so incredibly yummy to me right now. I love creole cooking. I have relatives in Louisiana, so this calls to me!

I make a wonderful Jambalaya with chicken and sausage. My mouth is watering now...

Lady in red said...

you have been tagged

Anndi said...

Now I'm hungry again.. know what eating at this hour will do to me? You'll be getting the dream interpretation therapy consult bill.

Ron said...

Holy Hell, Jeff...can I PAY you to ship this to me?

Damn...this looks (and smells) awesome!

Hey...can you adopt me as a brother, maybe?

YUMMY post, buddy.


Travis said...

I've never had gumbo. I'll bet the smells in your house were to die for this weekend!

Jeff B said...

Sandee- The mushrooms are really tasty. Crab, jack cheese, butter...all the bad stuff of course.

Jay- I want to get to Louisiana to try some of the cooking down there.

Real LL- You should see me in my apron. (wink)

Bond- Some types,like seafood varieties don't always have it in it, but for this one it's a must.

Akelamalu- If you decide to tackle it sometime just email me and I'll send you the measured recipe.

GypsyHeart- It's no big deal really, just a simple soup.

Rhea- I'll bet you have some pretty good eats coming from your neck of the woods.

LiR- I'll take a look at it. I think I still have one from Rhea that I haven't got to either.

Anndi- Put that bowl of ice cream down!

Ron- You are now officially part of the family. With your nutty sense of humor, you'll fit right in.

Travis- It was smelling pretty fine around here.

Jules~ said...

Boy does that bring back memories for me. My grandmother was a back woods southern Louisiana gal that could whip anything up on the stove. I remember many childhood days of ole' fashioned gumbo. Hers was a bit different though. It contained a mixture of rabbit, deer/elk, crawdads, chicken, and squirrel. Yeah really.
I have an old family cookbook that she and her sisters made. There are several recipies that call for old or young squirrel. When I see squirrels now I find myself wondering if it would be considered an old one or a young one. And is the difference in flavor or tenderness?

Gene Bach said...

Hey loser first poem is up. guess who the star of he story is?

Hammer said...

Great recipe and it looks like you have it down.

I bought a big jar of roux in Louisiana but it's just not the same as home made.

leelee said...

Goodness that looks are quite comfortable in the kitchen aren't you...I like that in a man...I'll bet mrs Jeff does too..



Kimmie said...

Jeff...this looks yummy! I have never made gumbo. I will definately be emailing you for this recipe for it an the mushrooms too. I love to cook, new recipes are always welcome in my book! Thank You so much for the pictures also, it always helps to be able to see what it should all look like before cooking and then the end result!

What I would really love is if Lisa would have you post some step by step pretty and tasty dessert recipes also. Then I could give a spectacular dinner party. :-)

Thanks for sharing, you are one in a million. Lucky Lisa!

nitebyrd said...

I even cleaned the kitchen too!

You are a God among men!

Jeff B said...

Jules- Sounds like that would be one of those meals that's better to enjoy first...then ask what was in it. Wondering about the age of the squirrel too.

Gene- What touching words you penned! I expected nothing less.

Hammer- Homemade is always better, but it does take a certain investment of time.

Lelee- I am one with my kitchen. Lisa would prefer that I was one with it a bit more often though.

Kimmie- I'll look for your email and get it out to you.I'm sure you'll like it.

Nitebyrd- I feel so deity-esk. Thanks

Sandi McBride said...

Oh Jeff, throw a handful of cleaned shrimp in there and I'm there, too!

Odat said...

Wow...I'm impressed!

katherine. said...

that is great...I can just see you standing at the stove...stirring away...planning your

mouth watering!