Filet Mignon
2003/07/17 19:42:52
Guess who's cleaning out her fridge? Now I have all this chicken to deal with. I went and got some andouille and I know I could wing it, but you all helped so much with that pea soup, I know together we can make a gumbo that will RULE THE WORLD (echo chamber please).

I notice the best gumbos are brown and "dirty looking", kind of smoky. Is that from the roux? What is the secret to perfect roux? File vs. okra? What about gumbo z herbes? Let's cook!
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 19:49:11
The secret to roux is long slow cooking and constant stirring. If the heat is too high it will burn and ruin everything. Paul Prudhomme has a method of high heat roux cooking but I think it's too hard for us mortals to do. If you have patience, it's very satisfying as you watch the roux turn beige, a reddish brown and then the dirty brown that means you've got the perfect base for killer gumbo.
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 19:52:30
If I have a gas burner, how low should the flame be? What shade of brown would you say it looks when it's done? Like milk chocolate? Dark chocolate? And about how long will it take? I'm afraid I'll burn it.
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 20:01:20
That's why it has to be low and slow. Last time I made one it took around 45 minutes or so. Milk chocolate works--------any darker and you start getting into dangerous territory, where all of a sudden it can burn. I've seen recipes for gumbo z'herbes but never tried it. I've now found a source here in Long Beach for crawfish so those automatically go into the gumbo as well as Andouille.
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 20:02:25

I was taught to cook Cajun food from a great friend who grew up in Breaux Bridge, LA......the heart of Cajun country. I visit every year and he takes me to his home and we cook for a solid week. He was also kind enough to give me all of his family recipes. I share with you now....below is the Gumbo. You can use any combo of meats in this recipe.

As far as roux....not many secrets really, just be careful not to burn it. Be prepared for it to take around 30 minutes to make. It must be stirred CONSTANTLY during this process!! No phones, TV, or potty breaks allowed! My buddies family swear they can detect 11 distinct stages of roux coloring. I have translated this to familiar colors.

I have mastered the high heat method that Paul Prudhomme uses but it took a while and many ruined batches of roux. Keep this in mind...the longer a roux is cooked the LESS thickening it will do. In the recipe below, the roux is rather dark so it does almost no thickening. One last tip...I keep my chopped veggies close by and use them once the roux is the proper color. This is critical if you are using cast iron! The cast iron holds the heat so well that the roux will cook long after the heat is turned off. When you add these veggies...the cooking stops...BUTTT be will splatter and sputter so stand clear. That is why it is called Cajun Napalm!!

Okra and file are local types of ingredients. This family used neither in all of their cooking, but many folks love using it in everything. Not a veggie person, so NO gumbo z'herbes!! LOL

About the best Cajun page on the internet can be found here........

OK, here is the recipe for Gumbo. Let me know if you seek any other Cajun delights...I don't have that many, but the ones I have are tremendous!!


Couzan Billy's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

3/4 cup Oil
3/4 cup Flour
1 pound Andouille sausage
2 medium Onion(s), chopped
4 stalks Celery
2 Bell pepper, red, chopped
1 tablespoon Butter
2 teaspoon Garlic
2 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Black pepper
tablespoon Salt
4 Bay leaf(s)
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
4-5 cups Chicken stock
4 Chicken thighs

Make the roux to a deep copper color. Set aside. Saute sausage, onion, celery, pepper, and seasonings in butter.
Add chicken stock and chicken thighs and simmer for 10 minutes.
Bring to rolling boil and add roux.
Simmer for at least another hour.
Retrieve and discard the chicken thigh bones.
Serve over rice.
Serves 8 dinner portions or 16 appetizer portions.

Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 20:06:13
Stogie-----you never fail to amaze me with the advice and recipes you come up with! Great stuff!
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 20:16:41
I have visited Breaux Bridges many times and I visited the famous Cajun joint before it expanded to NO. It use to be real good. When I visited there, they had their own brand of beer. I will never forget about 20 years ago the waitress who was about 21 and spoke beautiful cajun dialect told me about the food before the zydeco music began that she spoke a version of French and about 70% of the locals did also.

I was hooked on cajun food from that point on.

Now from being in East Tennessee, I take the short cut and buy Zatarin's and take it from there. I add all the veggies, meats and hot stuff that I like. It probably is not as great as some of the above posted recipes, but works for me.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 20:40:08
Paul------your story brings back memories for me too. I'd never had cajun food until the late 70's. At that time, a friend of a friend moved to NO. My friend decided to have a cajun party------had his friend buy 30 lbs. of Andouille sausages-------10 cases of Dixie beer----and 300 lbs. of crawfish at a place in NO. We supplemented it with loaves of french bread. It was put on an airliner and picked up at LAX at 11 am. We put 20 picnic tables in the back yard and proceeded to have a real cajun feast. I too was hooked----and still can't get enough of that type of food. Hot stuff!
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 21:50:42
Originally posted by EdSails

That's why it has to be low and slow. Last time I made one it took around 45 minutes or so. Milk chocolate works--------any darker and you start getting into dangerous territory, where all of a sudden it can burn. I've seen recipes for gumbo z'herbes but never tried it. I've now found a source here in Long Beach for crawfish so those automatically go into the gumbo as well as Andouille.

I saw crawfish in the market, but it was pre-cooked frozen. I thought it might get tough. And I was unsure about mixing chicken, sausage and crawfish. I felt like if it had crawfish I'd want some crab legs sticking out of the pot too, then Lord knows where that could lead.
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 21:52:02
STOGIE: Interesting there is no GREEN pepper in there. And bring on all the Cajun delights you've got!
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/17 23:19:16 many times as I have been there I have never eaten at any of the local joints! But, I know they are highly regarded and simply awesome food.

EdSails...thanks for the compliment! It seems this board has been hitting my "hot buttons" lately. Don't mean to be a board hog, but I will share another classic below.....

Elise....yes, no green pepper. Matter of fact, this family very rarely used the entire "trinity" in their cooking. The only crawfish I can get are the frozen kind. But they will work just fine and in the Jamaba recipe they cook for about an hour with no ill effects and no turning hard and tough.

OK, this Jamba is slightly adapted for the sole purpose of making in one large pot. I use some canned ingredients because they are easily transported. Also, the use of any tomatoes is very of those local preference thingys. I make this on Friday nights at the BBQ cook-offs and use my 14" Dutch Oven. The Cajun Seasoning Dust is listed below the recipe.

I am off for the weekend....coming your way Mayor..Louisville....HUGE family wedding!! I will post some more when I get back....including Paul P's Crawfish Etouffee. I also make all my own Andouille and Tasso and will give those recipes up as well.



Couzan Billy's Jambalaya

2 cup(s) Converted rice, uncooked
1 can French Onion soup
15 ounces Tomato sauce
1/4 pound Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Onion(s), chopped
1/2 cup Green onion, minced
1 small Green pepper, diced
1/4 cup Parsley, fresh, chopped
3 large Garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Crab boil
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 pound Smoked sausage
1 pound Crawfish tails(or shrimp)
3 pieces Chicken breasts, cubed
3 - 5 cups Chicken stock

Heat oven to 350.
Combine everything in a 5 Quart oven proof pot. Add about 3 - 3 1/2 cups of the chicken stock.
Mix well. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or longer.
You may add more chicken stock based on the consistency you want.
Stir before serving.
Keeps well.
You can use any combination of meats in this recipe. I often substitute Tasso for the chicken.

Ooooops, forgot this one.....

Couzan Billy's Cajun Dust

1/2 cup Paprika
6 tablespoon(s) Kosher (coarse) salt
1/4 cup Black pepper, coarsely ground
3 tablespoon(s) Basil, dried
3 tablespoon(s) Garlic powder
2 tablespoon(s) Onion powder
2 tablespoon(s) Oregano, dried
2 tablespoon(s) Cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon(s) White pepper
2 tablespoon(s) Thyme, dried

Mix and use for blackened dishes and any other dishes that call for Cajun seasoning.

Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/18 00:09:10
Geez, Stogie, hog away! We are hungry for your expertise.
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/18 04:48:37
OMG it's 1:30 in the morning and the gumbo is still cooking on the stove. I started at 9:30, thinking I would be done by 11 (It's so hot here, you have to cook the next day's dinner the night before when it's cooler). I guess I had the fire on too low, because it took me 1 1/2 hours to make the roux. Let me tell you, there are far more than 11 identifiable shades of roux. I finally stopped somewhere between Peanut Butter and New Penny. But the cast iron pan did keep cooking (glad I was warned), so it got closer to Old Penny in the end. After about an hour, my boyfriend offered to take over. But I said, "No. I think this is supposed to be teaching me something." Right now I'm thinking that lesson might be the same one I learned making cream puffs...don't ever do this again.
Junior Burger
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/18 06:36:44
Well, not a exactly what you are looking for, but a great seafood gumbo recipe.

Yield: Serves 25

This is an old family recipe that has served well for many years. It uses a traditional dark brown roux and Gumbo File to thicken and flavor. Its high quality depends on the freshest seafood ingredients, although much time can be saved with prepared seafood and fish stock.

1 cup cooking oil
1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cloves of garlic, diced
3 large white onions, chopped
5 stalks & heads celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 tsp. black pepper – coarse grind
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
3 quarts fish stock – add more water or stock for a thinner batch to be served on rice

5 lbs. gumbo shrimp – mid 30ish range
4 lbs. lump crab meat
2 pints fresh oysters or 6 lbs. steamers

1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 T. Gumbo File
In a large cast iron skillet or heavy sauté pan, add the oil. A high flash point oil will reduce the time needed to make the roux. Heat the oil on high heat until the pan is smoking hot, carefully whisk in the flour and reduce the heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Stir the mixture constantly for 30-45 minutes or until a dark brown color and nutty aroma develops. Remove from heat for a few minutes before adding the garlic to prevent burning.

Fry garlic in this roux. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, black pepper, salt, Old Bay, Italian herbs, Tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.

After cooking the vegetables add them to a 12 quart stock pot and then add three quarts of fish stock (recipe below). Allow the liquid to come to a boil and simmer while preparing the shrimp, crab and oysters/steamers.

Using 2 cubes Knorr fish bouillon and 1 ½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning, precook the shrimp in a little boiling water. Drain, cool and peel the shrimp. Again, using the fish bouillon and Old Bay, bring the oysters to a boil in water until they just curl. Drain and cool. If using steamers (clams) instead of oysters, using the same procedure and seasonings, steam the clams, then shuck and clean before adding to the final boil.

After cleaning the lump crab for any odd shell fragments, add crab the meat and cook for another ten minutes. Claw crab meat can be substituted for lump crab meat.

Add parsley and chopped green onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the precooked shrimp, oysters/clams and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. At the very last add the file gumbo, blend well and remove from the heat and allow it to thicken.

Allow the gumbo to set and when reheating, simmer gently and serve with cooked rice if desired.

Fish Stock - Cooking down about 2 pounds of fish scraps or a mess of shellfish scraps can make a simple fish stock. In a small stockpot, add just enough water to cover. Add salt to taste and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the stock before using.

Lone Star
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/18 11:59:17
My husband and his best friend since junior high school get together about once a month and make gumbo.

The day starts out with a trip to Kemah to the seafood market to buy shrimp, crab and crawfish, then to the store for the other ingredients (the key one being mass quantaties of beer).

They get home, and the chopping commences, and other assorted friends, cousins etc. wander in which causes more talking, arguing and elbow bending.

The day wears on.

Usually around 9pm, dinner is served. Delicious gumbo, sometimes jambalaya too, crab legs served on the side, rice and garlic bread.

The day (morning?) usually ends with a cutthroat game of Risk.

I just stay out of the way!

Here is a link for a pre-made roux they use and can be bought at the grocery stores here. It is just roux, flour and oil cooked for you.
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/19 20:21:47
First of all, hi everyone! I have been a longtime lurker of all things RoadFood, and a big fan of the Sterns writing.

What inspired me to get off my duff and register was Stogie's awesome gumbo recipe. I was born near Louisana but moved away as a kid, so I was so scared of roux. Well, I just made a big pot of his gumbo and man oh man is it good!

I live and love all things mexican, so expect me to contribute things here and there. Rosie
Mayhaw Man
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/20 08:55:23
O.K., I am at work and should not get started on a subject so near and dear to my heart....but....I love gumbo in all of its variations.
Here in South Louisiana everybody has a favorite recipe and it is muchmore common to find sausage and chicken or turkey and sausage (by sausage it could be one of any number of kinds), than it is to find seafood. I love seafood gumbo (I am posting a recipe for this and Gumbo Z'Herbes when I get home), but it is not something most people can afford to do except on special occasions. Just the crabmeat alone can run you $20 or $30, tails another $8 or $9, etc.
I really prefer the earthy tase of a good chicken and andouille to seafood anyway (I live 20 min from La Place LA, Andouille Capital of the World).

As far as roux goes, the so called Paul Prudhomme method is by far the easiest and most effective time wise once you get used to doing it. There are a couple of common misconceptionns that can get you burned however 1) You do not need to use a low sided black iron skillet to make the roux. Any heavy bottomed pan will do, but I reccomend you do what I do. Use a heavy stockpot (8 or 10 quarts or so). There are two good things about them. They have high sides so that you do not splash nearly as much and you will be able to stir and scrape a little more vigorously while being safer from the roux, which burns worse than anything I have ever come in contact with (and I have contacted it many times. Also, by using a stock pot, you will have a pot with a lid. This will be good when you are running out the back door to get it out of the house because you have burned it and it is smoking up everything. Lids are also good for containing the fire that is going to occur when you go answer the phone or change out the Spongebob video for the utes. Oh, this pan should not be non stick, needs to be metal, preferably stainless as aluminum is very porous and tends to burn the stuff easier.

Recipes later. Including the Gumbo Z'Herbes recipe straight from Eddie Bacquet of Eddie's on Law St. in New Orleans
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/21 05:20:19
Well, maybe it was worth all that stirring...IT WAS GREAT! I made Couzan Billy's, using 1 cup each of flour and oil, then added alot more chicken, a pound of smoked sausage, a pound of ham, a green bell pepper, 1 cup of okra ( just because I'd already bought them and didn't want to waste them) white pepper, parsley and paprika, because I can never just leave well enough alone. When I'm cooking, anything that doesn't move fast enough goes in the pot.

I have a question...I get andouille sausage pre-packaged. It's rarely in the meat case. It's so spicy I have to chop it instead of cutting nice 1" pieces. The big pieces are too hot for people. But when I've had gumbo in Louisiana, the sausage didn't seem that spicy. What's up?
Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/21 12:59:15
Well-----I didn't make it this weekend-----but this thread inspired me to go to one of the better breakfast/lunch place in Santa Barbara----the Cajun Kitchen. I had some mighty fine gumbo!
Rick F.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/22 11:06:26
Originally posted by Mayhaw Man Oh, this pan should not be non stick, needs to be metal, preferably stainless as aluminum is very porous and tends to burn the stuff easier.
Don't have the stockpot yet, but just bought an AllClad SS saute pan and it browns beautifully. (I gave a friend my beloved Calphalon Pro non-stick because I liked the new one so much!) When my wife recovers from the price of the saute pan I'll get the pot.
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/22 22:20:40

Thanks for trying the Gumbo! As you can see, adding different stuff is exactly what makes this so good and very versatile!

As to gumbo there are so many recipes for it. I prefer to make my own...again an old family recipe. This way I control the heat in it. Making sausage is so easy and you don't need all that equipment.

Below is the andouille recipe.

Texicana...thank you also for trying the gumbo! I consider it an honor when folks try my recipes and I appreciate the confidence you place in me!

Andouille Sausage

1 pound Pork butt
2 tablespoon(s) Garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
2 tablespoon(s) Kosher (coarse) salt
1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Cayenne pepper

Grind pork butt for sausage.

Place ground pork in large mixing bowl and blend in all remaining ingredients.

Form into links using case-less method described.

In your smoker, smoke andouille at 175-200°F for approximately four to five hours using pecan or hickory wood.
The andouille may then be frozen and used for seasoning gumbos, white or red beans, pastas or grilling as an hors d'oeuvre.

Filet Mignon
RE: Gumbo! 2003/07/22 23:53:59
Stogie, I am not one to use platitiudes, But YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!!