Friday, May 3, 2013

Gumbo Afternoon

Silva Rhetoricae made the live auction!  This means it will probably sell for more than the actual material + labor I put into it, which is nice for me and for the school.

I spent most of the afternoon chopping veggies for Gumbo Zeb.  Yesterday our first basket came from Grace's Garden, so it seemed a good time to make a big batch of the Gumbo Base for the freezer.  I follow the recipe in Crescent Dragonwagon's Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread cookbook, which may just be my favorite cookbook of all time.  But, like my quilts, gumbo turns out to be a little improvisational.  Making gumbo is an all-afternoon job, and I'm tired and looking forward to eating it for dinner, and taking it to the fellowship meal Sunday.
 You have to do a roux.  That's the brown mixture on the left: flour and oil cooked together and stirred frequently over a medium heat until the flour browns.  It will thicken the gumbo and add a nutty, brown flavor.  On the right is a sauté of 2 1/2 bell peppers, 2 1/2 onions, and a whole bunch of celery in a whole stick of butter, with a whole bunch of chopped chives added at the end.
The cool thing about Gumbo Zeb is it uses all those greens that you are supposed to eat more of but most people don't.  I put in about 2 large bunches of mustard greens from our yard, beet tops, radish tops, Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, and parsley from the veggie basket.  And I decided to branch out and put a small bunch of lemon balm in it, because it's a green leafy vegetable/herb, and it grows in abundance in our yard.  I did check my herb book to see if lemon balm could be toxic in larger quantities and it looks like it has been used happily for at least three thousand years with no reports of negative effects whatsoever.  So in it went.  When it was all done simmering I added the roux and the vegetable sauté and the seasoning blend -- 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 1 T of Tabasco sauce, and 8 cloves of garlic were some of the key ingredients, with spices and herbs galore and plenty of tomato sauce and tomato paste.  It fills my stockpot almost to the brim.

So for dinner I cooked a pot of rice, mixed about 4 cups of the gumbo base with equal amount of chicken stock, browned some Andouille sausage and we're good to go.  The rest of the base will cool and then be packaged up for future gumbo feasts.


1 comment:

Daniel Chapman said...

This makes me miss home cooking so much... I can't wait till I come home.