Saturday, May 14, 2011

daring cook challenge [pt2]: potato and green bean gumbo


Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!,  challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Sat May 08: After devouring my chorizo 'sausage' gumbo, boyfriend and I agreed that the one thing that could have improved it was some potato. So that only means one thing: MORE GUMBO!

Sat May 14 ............... Verdict:   This was, excuse the language, also f*cking delicious.

   I decided to go with potato, beans and green chillies/hot peppers this time - while I loved (loved!) the from-scratch vegan chorizo; I wanted to taste the Creole spice mix and (this time ordinary flour) roux without those extra complicated flavours. I also decided to try using zucchini rather than okra as it was suggested within the forums as an alternative.
   The white flour roux takes a lot longer than my original chickpea roux, and honestly I think I prefer the flavour of the latter. I do think it was an absolute fluke that I didn't burn the chickpea roux either. Again, I probably only went a few minutes past a peanut-butter colour for fear of burning it and spoiling the whole dish.
  The one thing I'm probably a bit dirty at myself about is not having a go at making my own stock (for either recipe) as part of this challenge.
   As an Aussie who's never had nor made gumbo before.. I can attest to it being the perfect winter warmer which I'm doubtlessly going to use again and again.

potato and green bean gumbo
Ingredients
*Starred & italicised ingredients list the original ingredient and their replacement. 
  FOR THE ROUX
  Canola oil ............... 1/2cup/120ml
  Plain white flour ...... 1/2 cup
  FRESH VEG AND HERBS
  Onions ................... 2lge, diced
  Celery .................... 1 stalk, finely diced
  Green capsicum ..... 1, seeded/ finely diced
  Tomato .................. 1, seeded/finely chopped
  Garlic ..................... 1 clove, minced
  Zucchini ................. 1 very large, diced
  Potato .................... 1 lge bowful, skins on, cut into large chunks
  Green beans ........... 2 lge handfuls, topped and tailed, cut into 2cm long pieces
  Green chillies .......... [aka hot peppers] 2, finely sliced (seeds and all)
  Thyme [fresh] ......... 1 sprig, leaves only
  Bay leaves .............. 1 fresh
  SAUCES, SEASONING AND SPICES
  Creole spices ........................... 1tbsp, recipe as below
      *Worcestershire sauce ... 1tbsp/15ml, replaced with
  Smoky BBQ sauce .................. 1 tbsp
      Tabasco .............................. to taste, did not use
      Salt ..................................... to taste, did not use
      Pepper ................................ to taste, did not use
      *Filé powder .................. to taste, did not use
   LAST BUT NOT LEAST
  Chicken Stock ..................... 3L
      I used stock made from Massel 'Chicken' Cubes - all of which are vegan. 
  Louisiana White Rice ............ 4-6cups/1-1.5L, recipe as below

Method: The how-to of my bastardised version of gumbo
   STEP ONE
Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices (recipe below).
   STEP TWO
Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. We were told this is very important as you must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.
   STEP THREE
Heat the oil on a med-high in a small teflon-coated saucepan, added the flour and started whisking. I just kept whisking (through the 'bubbles' stage) and then turned down the heat once it started to get silky. It was also at this stage that I switched to a rubber spatula for stirring the liquid. Once it was a peanut butter brown, I added the onions and continued to stir until it was a hue I was happy with.
   STEP FOUR
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Add in the roux/onion mixture (whisking again until the liquids blends nicely). Throw in the remainder of the trinity (the capsicum and celery) as well as the garlic, zucchini, tomato and Creole spice mix. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing to a simmer, pot lid off, for 45 minutes. This thickened the liquid nicely.
   STEP FIVE
Add in the potato, bay leaf, thyme leaves and green chilli. Bring to the boil then simmer for about twenty minutes, pot lid on and stirring occasionally. This approximate twenty minutes should cook your potato so you can pierce it easily with a fork (but it shouldn't fall apart).
   STEP SIX
Add in your green beans and turn off the heat. Allow the gumbo to sit with the pot lid on for ten to twenty minutes (the longer it sits, the more cooked the beans). Alternately add the beans then continue simmering until they have the desired 'crunch' for your personal taste.

below this line are some notes 
including copied sections from the Denise's provided recipe and instructions
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original method:
Directly from the DC Challenge instructions.
1. Prepare homemade chicken stock, if using (recipe below).
2. Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices, if using (recipe below).
3. Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.
4. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.
5. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
7. Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
8. Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.
9. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.
10. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
11. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
12. Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.
13. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.
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basic creole spices
As per DK directions. Yield: 1/2cup. Recipe Requires: 2 tbsp: 30ml: 15gm
  Celery Salt ................................ 2tbsp/30ml/33gm
  Sweet Paprika .......................... 1tbsp/15ml/7gm
  Coarse Sea Salt ........................ 1tbsp/15ml/18gm
  Freshly Ground Black Pepper ... 1tbsp/15ml/6gm
  Garlic Powder .......................... 1tbsp/15ml/7gm
  Onion Powder .......................... 1tbsp/15ml/7gm
  Cayenne Pepper ....................... 2tsp/10ml/4gm
  Ground Allspice ........................ 0.5tsp/2.5ml/1.5gm
 For Allspice, you can substitute 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cloves if you have those spices already. 
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filé powder
From the DK Directions:
  Besh tells us filé has been a vital ingredient in Creole gumbo since the mid-1800s, when Choctaw Indians traveled in from communities on Lake Pontchartrain to sell it at the New Orleans French Market, along with bay leaves and handmade baskets. The Choctaws make filé by drying, then finely pounding, the leaves of the sassafras tree into a powder, then passing it through a hair sieve. The leaves, in the form of filé powder, contribute a unique and spicy note to gumbo. Originally, filé was used to thicken the stew when okra was not available, but he likes to use both. He cooks the okra in the gumbo and adds a couple dashes of filé, too, at the end. He also likes to pass filé at the table as a seasoning. The word comes from the French word filer, meaning, “to spin thread,” which is a warning not to add filé while the gumbo is still boiling, as it has a tendency to turn stringy.

The DK File also sent you to a link, which I happened to find myself before even checking out the links (spooky!).

Sat April 30: After reading the link, I'm not too concerned about obtaining filé for my recipe. I've never noticed it in our Aussie supermarkets, and the link states that "The Creoles in New Orleans used filé only in the wintertime, when fresh okra was not available but many Cajuns prefer filé gumbo year-round". I will keep an eye out for dried Sassafras in the spice section, but I highly doubt I'll buy it as I wouldn't really know what else to use it in.
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basic louisiana white rice
As per DK instructions. Yield: Approx 4 cups
Ingredients:
  Extra-virgin olive oil ............ 1tbsp/30ml/30gm
  Onion ................................. 1 small, minced
  Long-grained white rice ...... 1.5cup/360mL/280gm/10oz
  Chicken Stock .................... 3cups/750mL
  Bay leaf .............................. 1
  Salt ..................................... 1-2pinches

Directions:
  1.Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2.Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
  3.Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4.Add the bay leaf and salt.
  5.Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
  6.Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.
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4 comments:

  1. I have read both parts of your gumbo posting I have to say I'm very impressed with your efforts and the research you put into it. That chirzo sausage sounds stunning and the potato version wins my heart (I love spuds) wonderful effort and results and the photos are cute. Superb work.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  2. I'm impressed. Making a vegan Gumbo is certainly an extra challenge! Congrats!

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  3. Thank you for both visiting and commenting, Audax & Renata.

    Audax - my research and effort is barely an iota of what you put into the challenge, but cheers.

    Renata - I'd almost argue that it's easier... except perhaps for needing to compensate for the missing flavours. I didn't even try to do that though and the plethora of spices and flavours still worked wonderfully.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I Approve! Very spicy but nicey.

    ReplyDelete

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