Thursday, August 14, 2014

How I make Gumbo

It's been a tradition since The Dr started teaching that I make the first gumbo of "the season" on his birthday.  In LA, school starts later than here, often it started on his birthday.  So, how do I make a Cajun gumbo..well first a lesson in Cajun cooking.  Cajun gumbo is thick and brown and has any variety of meat in it.  It is served with rice with a side of potato salad.  If you are like my mom and I, we take a bit of potato salad and and a spoonful of gumbo all at once.  Cajun gumbo does not have tomatoes in it, that is Creole gumbo.  It may have okra, but I can't stand the stuff, so I leave it out.

So, how do you make Cajun gumbo... Well, first you start with a Roux.....  Well, ok, actually I don't.  First I put a whole chicken in a stock pot, cover it with water and simmer for  2 hours.  I'll spare you a picture of raw chicken in a pot of water.  I think you can visualize it for yourself.

When that is almost done, I make my roux.  Now... I don't really "make" my roux... I can.. I just don't.  Now, before you profess that I am not a real Cajun let me give you a short genealogy of my life.  My mom was a Thibodeaux, her mom a Picard.. we go way back.  In fact, my Thibodeaux ancestors were one of the families that Canada kicked out when they refused to bow to the king of England (yes, there is still a bit of bitterness..LOL). My dad is from Texas but has lived in LA for so long that he sounds Cajun, plus he learned to cook from Cajun he knows what he is doing.
My Grandma Therese Picard Thibodeaux

Back to why I don't make my own roux.  Back in the day my mom made her own roux and after burning it (which is easy to do) she discovered that this nice man by the name of Savoie made roux and sold it in jars.  Voila' no more burned roux.  Well, fast forward to about 30 years and I had 3 kids 3 and under and decided that I wanted to be friends with Mr Savoie (shut up Gene) I bought my roux.

Ok, back to how to make gumbo....

So, once the chicken is cooked, I remove it from the pot.. skim out all the stuff and add the roux to the pot and cook it for an hour or so while the chicken cools enough that I can pick it apart.  This is also when I add onions and bell peppers to the water.  After an hour, I pick the chicken apart and add it to the stock pot.  (save the carcass to make stock later)  Then I let this whole pot cook.  How long?  Until dinner time.  A word of warning.. don't let the gumbo boil...whatever you do, don't let it boil.... trust me.  I let it come to a boil and then lower to a slow boil/fast simmer.  I rarely cover it but I keep checking it and adding water if I think it needs it.  I serve it over a scoop of rice and with a side of potato salad.... yum..

Happy Birthday to my favorite Dr.  I love you oh so very much!!

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