Saturday, November 5, 2011

File' Gumbo Recipe

This could be either file' gumbo or okra and seafood gumbo or meat depending on ones personal choice. Also the choice of file' or okra, as I was told and understand it, was not only for flavor but for consistency as well. Okra you may or may not know is a veggie if not cooked properly can be the slimiest .... ever!  File' is ground sassafras leaves.  The Choctaw Indians would lay out the leaves to dry, grind them into a powder then bring the powder to sell the "white settlers" @ the French Market. These industrious settlers added the powder  to their stew pots. Down in time a variation became known as file' gumbo.    In this recipe I used neither; if you use Okra add it w/the rest of the veggies.  I was taught if one used file' as a thickening agent to add it @ the very end when the pot was off the stove.  Cooking it would turn it too thick, stringy & bitter.

With a lot of recipes one makes a roux, in fact (it was said so often when giving out recipes) there was a cook book titled or "called" (as said in New Orleans vernacular)  First You Make a Roux. A roux is basically made buy melting a fat (butter) & adding flour to the meted fat (butter) in equal parts for 1 minute for a white sauce. (b├ęchamel) Depending upon the recipe we cook it longer in varying shades from tan to dark chocolate. That could be anywhere from 8-20 minutes or we use less flour for a thinner sauce according to what meat/protein you're cooking. When cooking a roux make certain you have a heavy pan w/even distribution of heat. Make certain you're stirring constantly while your browning the shades. (ain't nothin' worse than a burnt roux!)

Well in this recipe you make a roux. (I like the healthy deep shade of tan for all my gumbos) This particular recipe I made for my fellow parishioners in Connecticut as I said before was considering their palates of likes & dislikes so it was an everything gumbo, seafood & meat.

The ingredients were as follows:

"Holy Trinity"

1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup oil & 6 tbls flour (roux)
2 cups onion (chopped)
1 cup Bell Pepper (green chopped)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
5 large cloves garlic (minced)
7-8 cups chicken broth
1 lb sausage (cut into same size as chicken)
3 large skinless chicken breast halves (cut into small pieces 1")
1 1/2-2 tsps Cajun seasonin to taste (Zatarains or Tony Chacheres)
1/2 lb crayfish (crawfish) already cooked (imported foreign substance above the Mason Dixon line)

Before making the roux brown the meat pieces in the oil in a heavy pot (Dutch Oven) then set aside before adding the flour. Make the roux combining the flour w/the oil over medium heat stirring constantly until roux is a tan shade about 12 minutes or so, add & stir the veggies (not the garlic yet) to the roux for about 3-4 minutes, add garlic cook for 1 minute.
Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves & Cajun seasoning bring to a boil, reduce heat add meats. If you were using file' this is were you'd add it when serving.  Thereby making it file' gumbo

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