Monday, September 27, 2010

Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo : Letting The Good Times Roll

      In New Orleans they say “Laissez les bon temps roullez” or “Let the good times roll” and I agree. The folks down in the Big Easy work hard and they play hard. They have perfected the art of creating balance in life which is a talent that is getting rarer and more difficult to master these days.They have also mastered creating food that is both unique and delicious. Today I pay them tribute with a classic gumbo.
We bought this book on our last visit to New Orleans. Wonderful stories, photos & recipes
     When we visit New Orleans we go with a game plan. We generally eat every couple of hours, forgoing the big three-course meal opting for smaller meals scattered throughout many of out favorite places and a few new ones as well. Since the food is a highlight for us we want to try as many places as possible on any given visit. We have found that splitting an entrée at one restaurant and trying a couple of appetizers a few hours later in a different place gives us the most bang for our buck.

Today we pay tribute to New Orleans with a shrimp and sausage gumbo.
First I prepared a roux
½ cup combo vegetable oil and butter
¾ cup AP flour
I stir constantly with a whisk till it is the brown color I’m looking for
(Read up online about roux and you’ll see there is a wide variety of brown tone that all bring a different taste to the dish)
When the roux is ready
Roux in progress
I add
1 cup Diced Onion
2 Ribs Diced celery
1 cup Diced green pepper
This variation of the Mirepoix is often referred to as The holy trinity
2 fat garlic cloves (1 diced & 1 grated)

When this till the vegetables are soft
Adding the sausage to the vegetables and the roux
I added the sausage and cooked about five more minutes.

I then add 6 cups of my home made chicken stock one ladle at a time and incorporate it slowly Stirring constantly.

When it is all added in I bring it to a boil and then simmer for at least one hour.
During this time I add 1 28-ounce can of organic tomatoes
Louisiana hot sauce to taste (John likes a spicy gumbo so I am generous)
Cajun spices
Touch of sage
A bit of basil
Near the end of cooking I add shrimp cook till done  (fairly quickly)

This is a great recipe play with adding flavors as it cooks to suit your taste
Serve over rice
Total  Under $ 8.00 for the entire dish
TIP OF THE DAY: Explore the wide world of stews. Practically every country and region has its own version of a stew. It is usually based on what is available locally in great quantities and can be stretched to feed a crowd. The concept of a stew lends itself to a tremendous opportunity to explore your creativity.  Play with the ingredients and have some fun.

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