Gumbo, of all other products of the New Orleans cuisine, represents a most distinctive type of the evolution of good cookery under the hands of the famous Creole Cuisinieres of old new Orleans.
~ from The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, 1901
M and I decided to have a late Mardi Gras celebration with some gumbo and Creole potato salad yesterday. The reasons are simple. We were busy on Fat Tuesday this year, and we saw a program on PBS that brought about intense gumbo cravings. That program was New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton. He was making — you guessed it — shrimp and andouille gumbo, Creole potato salad, and for dessert, a King cake. We skipped the King cake.
I am unable to share Mr. Belton’s recipe with you because I was unable to find it online. It was on Episode 115, Carnival. I’m not sure you’ll be able to find that, either. What M and I decided to do (this was a shared cooking experience) was start with a basic gumbo recipe for the sake of proportions (how much flour and how much oil for the roux, etc.) and then cooked it up the way Kevin did on his program. It was a little backwards for me. I’m used to making the stew or soup and then adding the roux. Kevin made the roux first, sauteed the trinity (onions, celery, and bell pepper) in the roux, added the andouille and stock, and put the shrimp in at the end. There was no okra in this version of gumbo. I’m fine and dandy with that. I don’t care much for okra.
I made a Hot & Sour Shiitake Soup on Friday. I picked up a cold virus while visiting with Little Wookie last weekend, and nothing helps cure the common cold like hot and sour soup. Instead of a fresh jalapeno, which I didn’t have, I threw in some chili garlic sauce which also made the soup look a little oily. I would normally use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version, but I happened to have some chicken stock in the freezer (and they say chicken broth is also helpful in curing a cold).
There is enough gumbo and hot & sour soup to get us through the next few cold days. I’m looking forward to the leftover gumbo. The flavors seem to be more intense once the gumbo has had a chance to cool and sit for a while.
Thanks for dropping in for some soup and salad. Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 141) Hot soup on a cold day. 142) Morning coffee. 143) Sleeping in on Sunday. 144) Shared laughter. 145) The cooling power of potato salad after the spiciness of gumbo.