Saturday, May 14, 2011

Daring Kitchen Challenge - Gumbo

I've joined an on line cooking community called The Daring Kitchen.  Each month they post a challenge and then on the 14th of the following month all the participants reveal their creations/recipes/pictures on their blogs.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Even though I live in the land of seafood, I decided to try chicken and sausage first.  Hilary acted as my sous-chef, helping to cut up the chicken since I'm not quite ready to go that far in my quest to cook.  Gumbo is fairly straight forward without too many ingredients.  We could not find File powder or Andouille sausage, but I think it turned out just fine without either of them.  And so far those who have tasted my Gumbo seem to agree.

The Holy Trinity of Gumbo - onion, green pepper and celery

All the ingredients ready to go.

The longest part of making Gumbo is making the Roux.  I used canola oil for my fat and it took about 20 minutes to get the rich dark colour that I wanted.

Ready to simmer.

Okra is used as a thickener.  It adds nice flavour as well.

The final dish.  Chicken and sausage Gumbo, served over rice.

The following weekend I set out to make the seafood and sausage gumbo.  This time my roux darkened up much faster, and may have even been a bit burnt.  It had a very strong smell and flavour. The combination of the roux and the sausage seemed to overpower the delicate flavour of the lobster stock that I used.

I combined lobster, scallop and shrimp since I really dislike prawns (yes I know they are really just shrimp, I just don't like my food looking at me while I eat it!)

The final dish.
I would definitely like to try the seafood version again, with a strong fish stock and a lighter roux.  Overall though, it was still pretty good.  I can't wait to find out what the next challenge will be.
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