Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Gumbo Time!

Gumbo...South Louisiana Cuisine

Growing up in South Louisiana has been one of the best parts of my life. I absolutely love my home and my heritage. The people, the culture, the is a place that is beyond compare and the top of that list is the food that we have grown up with.

When the temperature turns cool everyone gets ready for Gumbo. It is a time to enjoy the cool weather gather family and friends and enjoy good food, good music, good company. Today is our first gumbo of the season. I really enjoyed spending the time getting everything together and cooking it outside on our burner, which is nice because I was able to watch the kids, enjoy the weather and was not stuck in the kitchen all day.

Usually our first gumbo is chicken and sausage gumbo, but our local CSA has provided us with great fresh okra, and peppers so instead it will be shrimp and okra.

A good gumbo is only as good as its ingredients and the time, care and love that is put into it. It is not something that can be rushed to the dinner table. This dish is slowly cooked for several hours so that all the flavors come together for a wonderful food experience.

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
1 pint jar of roux
5 quarts of water, stock, or mixture of both
2 lbs Shrimp
3 lbs Okra
1 can of chopped tomatoes with juices
3 large onions chopped
2 bell peppers chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
a pot of cooked rice

First start the roux and water boiling in a pot. Be sure to stir until the roux is completely dissolved in the water let it continue to cook while you prepare the other ingredients.

Then satue the onions, peppers, celery and garlic until translucent. Transfer most of the vegetables to the pot of roux and water.

Cook the okra with the rest of the vegetables for about an hour until it is no longer slimy. (a tablespoons of vinegar will help to reduce this. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 -20 more minutes then add to the gumbo pot.

Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Let it cook on low so that the flavors can come together. 15 minutes before ready to eat add the shrimp. Test for seasoning, serve over rice and enjoy.

A slice or two of fresh french bread is also a great addition.

Note: this recipe makes a lot of gumbo so be sure to invite someone to share it with you, and any leftovers are a special treat, because it is always better the next time it is heated up.

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