Saturday, January 29, 2011

Southern Saturdays with Virginia - Mama's Seafood Gumbo

Virginia Willis continues her weekly series Southern Saturdays with Virginia. Each week she picks a recipe from her cookbook, Bon Appetit Y'all and asks her readers to cook the recipe. This week she picked Mama's Seafood Gumbo. A stew with crab and shrimp? I think we all know what I was doing today.

gumbo crab1

While I enjoy a wide variety of ethnic foods, creole cuisine is not something I normally find myself cooking or ordering in a restaurant. I have not had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans nor do I remember ever having had gumbo let alone a good gumbo before. So I was definitely in uncharted waters this Saturday. That wasn't the only issue. There was also the roux. The roux for a gumbo can be a bit tricky.

gumbo crab 2

It starts out like all roux, with fat and flour. In this case, unsalted butter. The directions seem simple enough: In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring slowly and constantly, and cook to a medium-brown roux, about 30 minutes. Check out that last part. 30 minutes of stirring so your roux doesn't burn. No wandering off to see if the dog is barking at something important or just another squirrel mocking him from the tree outside. No checking your email for the latest Groupon coupon. You're on Roux Duty because your Gumbo depends on it! Once you get that done, it's all smooth sailing from there.


I even had time to make Virginia's $20,000 Rice Pilaf. How was the gumbo? Well it was certainly warm and comforting, thick with crab and shrimp. Just a bit of spice with the addition of the hot sauce at the end for my mild mannered tongue. The filé powder was another new experience for me. I love okra so I was curious how a little bit of dried and ground sassafras leaves were going to thicken up this stew in place of the okra but it certainly did and added a wonderful new flavor as well.


So the next time the weather prognosticators are predicting a major snow dump, instead of stocking up on milk and toilet paper at the grocery store before it hits, get the makings of Mama's Seafood Gumbo and spend that snowstorm productively practicing your roux making skills and warming up your loved ones with some spicy seafood goodness.


MakingSpace said...

That looks amazing. Thirty minutes of stirring? The kids could burn the house down by that time. Wow.

Gorgeous photos, Shamy.

Big Shamu said...

Yeah, I'm thinking you'd need to time that 30 minutes with kid nap time. Or 30 minutes playing in the snow with not being allowed back in the house until the timer necklace goes off.

MakingSpace said...

Or just duct tape 'em to the walls.

(just kidding just kidding just kiiiddddinggg)

the dogs' mother said...

When The Engineer and I were first married my folks got transferred to Baton Rouge. Being PNW kids we took full advantage of visiting and got to see a lot of Louisiana and ate our way thru the entire state - blackened redfish, catfish, boiled crayfish, oysters Rockefeller. We learned to make gumbo and jambalaya and red beans and rice - all new dishes to us.

Dani said...

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Why do you have to live so far away?!?!?!?!

Dani said...

I could go for some duct tape right about now. My child is driving me CRAZY!

MakingSpace said...

There's also strapping tape or box tape or paper tape...

Big Shamu said...

you need to give them science projects to work on. Like inventing the cheap self cleaning toilet or a clean renewable energy. but really, the toilet thing first.

MakingSpace said...

I'm all for that.

Taylor said...

I love the picture of the crab looking back at you! Very fresh seafood you are using!

Big Shamu said...

Oh yeah, Taylor, just watch out for the claws.

Amethy said...

So pleasing to the eyes and definitely pleasing to taste. Love it!

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