Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm not tryin to be rouxde.

Dear 28,
R. Kelly shows up a lot on this blog. (Here. Here. and here again.)  Today is Mardi Gras- the fattest of Tuesdays. And to properly celebrate, I made a gumbo. (and pimento cheese. and a very pilsbury version of a kings cake.) I also decided tonight I'd like to illustrate an R. Kelly themed cookbook. Our Kelly can perform at the book release.
 I searched the interwebs for a just-right gumbo recipe, even browsing the comments of several recipes (seriously- read the comments. so helpful). Most of the comments from actual New Orleanians (1. is that what the people of NOLA are called? 2. I am only assuming the anonymous comments are from true New Orleaners) point out that "real gumbo is tomato-less" or that "this would never be served in my Louisiana kitchen" and other such criticisms. So I googled "authentic gumbo recipe." That lead me to an ultra-informative gumbo hub. I chose to make the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and prayed to the MardiGods that I could master the roux (after reading this incredibly helpful how-roux)
The many stages of the roux.
Several things were learned in this gumbo making process. Now I shall list them.
1. I need a heavy bottomed pot. (which immediately makes me think of this song and giggle) I have an old pasta pot that Mar and Den gave me that is in great shape, but is intended to boil pasta and steam veggies, not hold a swirly roux for 35 minutes. The roux is simply flour and oil that's stirred for a looooong time until it magically gets smooth and dark like a deeply brown peanut butter.
Maybe I'll purge the pasta pot and invest in a dutch oven. I think most people get those from wedding registries or something because whew they are pricey.
2. Roux is the perfect word for wordplay.
3. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning is the only way to go (thanks Nick) and also tastes delicious sprinkled on cottage cheese if you get hungry while making gumbo.
4. I tend to get flour on my face and cannot avoid crying while cutting onions. Oh and I really dislike the smell of Tabasco sauce.
5. A wooden spatula type utensil is really your best bet when stirring the roux. It covers a lot of surface in the pot (whether fat bottomed or otherwise) and helps the roux not to burn.
The Trinity. Amen.
6. Celery + Green Peppers + Onions are called the Trinity.
7. Making your own chicken stock is so easy. Not only do you control the salt content (see I'm sticking to your diet too Mr.), but that pasta pot with the colander in it works perfectly for chickenbone+celery+onion+carrot+wholepeppercorn boiling. A sense of accomplishment follows submerging a chicken carcass with aromatic and flavorful veggies. (that is sick)

So much was learned in a 3 hour gumbo makin' adventure!

Tonight I'll actually eat the gumbo, now referred to as "I'm not tryin to be rouxde Gumbo," so a full flavor report will have to come later. A few bites last night were pretty tasty, but the real test is this evening when it's served over rice while Cajun tunes fill the stoop.
I can't decide if I'm more excited about the completed gumbo or the hand drawn recipe card with a clever R. Kelly title...

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