We may have gumbo for breakfast because I can hardly wait to have it. But, I’m doing better than Vince did. He had been out and came home and smelled the gumbo and wanted to know if he could have just a taste! Of course, he could. I fixed him a tiny bowl, with no rice; he declared it was perfectly seasoned (of course . . he would!).
Gumbo is so easy to make; it’s easy to make a big pot; it freezes great; it tastes amazing . . what’s not to love?
Before starting the roux, I chop all the veggies . . onions, celery, bell peppers.
Then I started the roux.
It’s pretty much equal parts of flour and oil. I don’t measure. Sometimes I have to add a little more flour, then add a little more oil . . it all works out in the end.
It has to be cooked fairly slowly and stirred constantly.
I had an old cajun friend who always said make the roux the color of an old copper penny and then cook it a little longer. All you’re doing is toasting the flour. A roux can actually be made in the oven with just flour.
Once the roux is as dark as you want it, the oil will sometimes separate . . which is a good thing. It’s done its job of getting the flour nice and brown so I’ll take a paper towel, tear it into strips and lay them out on top of the roux. The towels will absorb all the excess oil. I have to be very careful so the HOT oil doesn’t get up to the edge of the towel where I’m holding it. I’ll sometimes go through 1 or 2 of the half paper towel sheets.
The veggies are added and cooked.
I had saved a half gallon jar of chicken broth so I scooped off the fat that had hardened, tossed that. I only added about 1/3 of the jar of chicken broth then added water as needed. After that simmered for a bit, I added the chicken we had smoked, and some chicken I had boiled, the sausage and seasonings.
I simmered it a while longer, then added the okra.
When I put up okra, I’ll sometimes cook it down, then scoop it into piles on a cookie sheet, freeze it, then drop the frozen clumps into a bag and keep it til needed. Then I can drop a clump or two into the simmering okra. When I’m canning okra for gumbo, I slice it and by the time it’s gone through the canning process, it’s ready to use in the gumbo. I also can whole small pods because I like those in peas.
When I was ready to add the okra, there was already a jar of whole okra in the kitchen so I used that. I told Vince . . I know you don’t like okra but I think it will all cook down and you’ll never see it. He said “I like okra! I like okra in the gumbo. Where did you get the idea I don’t like okra?” I have no idea. No idea at all why I’ve disguised the okra in gumbo for 25+ years! Chad doesn’t like okra so maybe I just carried that over . . who knows?
I kept out enough for us to have for dinner today and then have leftovers in a day or so; and I froze three containers, each of which is enough for both of us for two meals so we’re getting at least 8 meals out of this pot of gumbo. I love it!
Can you come to my house and teach me how to make such a perfect roux? You would laugh to know that I often have to bring out my stick blender to get my roux without lumps! I don’t make gumbo but I use a roux for casseroles like tuna noodle hotdish or green been casserole (no store bought cans of soup in my house). I suppose that is different than this kind of a roux.
There’s nothing wrong with using the stick blender if that works but really, it’s as simple as pouring a bit of oil in a skillet, adding flour and stirring til it’s brown. When I’m making a gravy from pan drippings or other times I make a roux, I always make the roux in a separate skillet or Dutch oven, then add the broth or cooking liquid to the pot with the roux. Also, when adding liquid to a hot roux, make sure the initial amount of liquid you pour in is boiling.