Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gumbo Weather

Three thirty? Really? I'm out of bed already? I really tried to close my eyes and go back to sleep but the brain was in gear and kept nudging me toward the edge of that bed. Facebook and coffee edged out the effects of that Ambien I swallowed just 4  hours ago. It appears to not have done it's magic very well. Now for something to do!

It's that time. The leaves have fallen from the mighty oak which is really a silver maple tree standing stripped on the front lawn. Mighty Oak just sounds more dynamic.  I don't know if the front grass section of this house qualifies as a "lawn" either. Sounds a bit pretentious to me so I'll just call it the front yard. I'm just thankful I don't have a live Oak laden with moss on that front lawn. The limbs on those trees are big enough to wipe out a house should a hurricane pass through and rip branches off them.

Gumbo. I have the roux cooking as we speak. It's at a slow rolling boil and will be for the next two hours. Learning to cook a Gumbo was a lesson in accepting defeat when I first moved to Louisiana. I would stand at the cook's elbow and watch as she put it together in the huge Gumbo pot. They cook a huge amount at one time. It's a friendly food that begs inviting friends and family over to share. Of course a potato salad is a must have side dish; some people even spoon it on top of their Gumbo and rice instead of eating it separately. I've had it both ways.

The big secret to cooking a roux is "time". My problem was, I would let it boil for 30 minutes then drop in the sausage and chicken, cook for a few more minutes and call it done!

Gumbo roux has to cook for at least two hours to get  the"burnt flour" taste from the roux out of it. You tuck that secret under your hat and use it. Gumbo is an easy dish to prepare but do plan ahead. 

I repeat: The roux MUST stay at a low rolling boil during these two hours.

I'm not afraid to put my Gumbo up with the locals now unless of course they have added Andouille to the pot. It's expensive. Sometimes I use it and oft times not.

When the weather plunges here into the thirties, the Gumbo pots appear. The house smells of roux boiling and my mouth waters. I've always liked all kinds of soup so Gumbo has become a favorite with me.

Another pot of navy beans simmer on the stove. Salt pork chopped in tiny pieces and fried crisp have been added to the beans. These will go with Carrie when she visits her father this weekend. He loves navy beans and salt pork. I'll send some Gumbo along with her too.

I must get up and get moving. Sitting still, I feel my eyes getting heavy and a slowness creaping in. Sleep now tries to visit and I'm not having any of that!

I've a list of things to get done today. I just didn't know I would start this damn early!

While the pots boil, I have plenty of time for a nice long shower.

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