Regional Cuisine

Little or nothing to do with distillation.

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The Chemist
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Location: Louisiana

Regional Cuisine

Post by The Chemist » Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:02 pm

Just got back from Grand Isle, LA, where they were sellin' blue crab for $25.00 a bushel. Yum. Told my mother about it, and in the ensuing conversation, she wanted me to send her a "real" Louisiana gumbo recipe. Got me to thinking that we have people from all over the world on this forum, why not share some regional specialities? So, below, to get the ball rolling is the gumbo recipe that I sent to my mother.

This is not in a traditional recipe form, but follow it closely, and you’ll get a true Louisiana gumbo. I gah-ron-tee!

First, decide on your seafood. I like, for two gallons, about 2 pounds of shrimp, a pound of crabmeat, about a pound of any firm white fish you can find, and about a pint of oysters. You can use canned crabmeat, if you truly must, but everything else should be as fresh as possible. Buy shrimp with the heads on, if you can. De-head and peel the shrimp, clean the fish, if necessary and cut into half-inch cubes. Put the edible parts in the refrigerator. Throw the shrimp peels, heads, tails, fish heads (not the guts, please) into the biggest stockpot you’ve got, add two gallons of water, two large onions, quartered, peel and all, four ribs of celery, top leaves and all, a couple of carrots cut in half and two good sized bay leaves. Bring all this to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer at least two hours. Strain everything out and return the stock to low heat.

Dice three large onions, about five ribs of celery, six or seven cloves of garlic (more if you like—you can’t have too much garlic!) and one and a half large Bell peppers. Not too small, but not great hunks either. Clean and slice about a pound of okra. Set all this aside, for the moment.

Now you make a roux (you make a roux for everything, even lemonade, in Louisiana!). In the largest, heaviest (cast iron is strongly preferred) pot you have, mix two cups each flour and oil. Turn on the heat—medium-high. Stir…stir…stir. Stir this stuff every second—don’t leave it for an instant. Don’t even look at your watch. If you burn it, throw it out and start over. Keep stirring for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. I mean it—don’t stop at all! When the roux is the color of dark mahogany, or about like a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, dump in the diced onions, garlic, celery, and pepper. Watch out, it may splatter—it will certainly make a lot of noise. Keep stirring for about two more minutes. Now add about a quart of the fish stock. Keep stirring. When the liquid is well blended, add another quart. Stir some more. When this quart is blended in, you can go ahead and add the remaining liquid. Turn the heat down to low. NOW you can stir only occasionally. Add two large cans of sliced tomatoes, including the liquid, and the sliced okra. Add salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste. Simmer about an hour. If the gumbo is not boiling, turn the heat back up to bring to a boil. Add all the seafood. Turn the heat OFF. When the shrimp turn pink, you’re ready to eat. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with gumbo filé, to taste.
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Virginia Gentleman
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Post by Virginia Gentleman » Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:21 am

Man that sounds good! Love the gumbo. Saw a show on how file (missing accent) is made, sometimes by hand from dried sassafras leaves. And of course you can use okra and other things to thicken instead. We have tons of wild sassafras growing around here, I often pick small plants and chew the root (can also make tea). Hope to dry some and powder for file sometime.

And crabs for $25 a bushel, that's insanely cheap!! They can run $100 and up around here near the Chesapeake Bay (I don't buy them unless they're under $40). Or catch them myself when near the water. Bay crabs are in trouble. Only had them once this summer, but so good.

I'll think of some regional recipes to add, like slow wood cooked Carolina/Va. style pork butt, Brunswick stew, Oyster stew, etc. Good idea, Chemist.
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