Hey, look! It’s a post that’s not a weekly update!
I do a whole lot of home cooking, but it’s so routine that I’ve pretty much given up on blogging about it. Today, however, I made a wonderful pot of gumbo whose ingredients were almost entirely thanks to the generosity of others, and that’s definitely blogworthy.
It started last Thursday, at the 17th annual Biggs|Gilmore Thanksgiving feast. The accounting team cooked three huge turkeys, everyone brought a dish to pass, and we all ate like kings. Afterwards, there were turkey carcasses. Turkey carcasses that were headed into the garbage. Heresy, I say! I grabbed an empty aluminum dish and made off with a giant pile of bones and wings and drippings. That same night I boiled the bones up into a gallon of glorious, wobbly turkey stock (Paul always has to watch me shake the pot the morning after: “Look, honey! WOOBLY WOOBLY WOOBLY”. I am so easily amused.) which went into the freezer to await the arrival of… sossidge.
There’s a certain someone who loves me and Paul very much. So much so that she FedExed us a box of home-ground, home-smoked sausage.
Real genuine andouille made my real genuine Louisiana folks. It arrived this morning, to much joy, and stabbing. Seriously, you guys, it tasted so good that it’s a miracle any of it made it into the pot.
Ten minutes after its arrival, I started thawing the turkey stock and the shrimp, and made a quick trip to the store for more rice. Got in the door, set the rice to soak, started the oven roux (R.O.U.Xes? I don’t believe they exist.) peeled the shrimp and started boiling the shrimp shells for seafood stock.
Then the hallway smoke alarm went off. Then the basement smoke alarm went off. Alas, I didn’t stir enough, and the roux was burned (nooooooo) which sent poor Paul back to the store to buy more flour — I’d had exactly enough left to make the roux, but no more, of course. In the meantime I chopped and got everything else mised in its place. Paul returned from the store, I set the new roux to cooking — this time on the stovetop, like a smart person — and watched it like a hawk, stopping just short of a brick roux and finishing it in the stewpot with the veg (no okra, alas. Paul can’t stand the stuff, so we use filé instead).
As soon as the veg were soft, in went the shrimp stock and the turkey stock, and the andouille followed shortly after.
Now it’s burbling away, and in another hour or so I’ll add the shrimp. You guys, I so wish you could smell how good my kitchen smells right now.
I love Gumbo so much. I never had it growing up, but it’s such an fantastic thing — you take all this stuff that folks would otherwise throw away, add some veg and sausage, and get the most delicious meal from it. It always amazes me how some of the best-tasting recipes from every culture are the ones born out of frugality and necessity — and in this case, generosity. I’ll be bringing some in to work on Monday to complete the circle.