I’m not going to say that I choose my Super Bowl team based on the city with the most appealing gustatory traditions, but if someone wants to draw that conclusion based on my making gumbo today, I can offer only a half-hearted defense. What do Colts eat? I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve had gumbo on the brain for weeks.
Last Friday found me in Old Oakland at the Friday farmer’s market and the Old Housewives Market. A bustling farmer’s market in February is one of the loveliest things about living in this area. It was full of greens and citrus, cruciferous and root vegetables. I briefly considered what looked like a rubber chicken which was actually a real chicken complete with head and feet and suitable for stock-making, but I was single-minded and on my way to Taylor’s Sausage for some hot smoked sausage, then on to Ranch 99 for a duck.
My gumbo today was based loosely on Southern Living’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo recipe with several notable differences. When I made the roux, I used a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat that I had in the refrigerator to add a little smoky depth to my peanut butter colored roux. The duck had been broken down and the bits and bones made into stock. The breast and legs were poached in the stock and shredded and the stock de-fatted before pouring it into the roux and vegetables.
While I love okra and tomatoes in gumbo, I was looking for a deep smoky winter gumbo. The dark roux added so much body and flavor to the soup that it didn’t miss the okra thickener.
Let’s just say that if we had had a cooler full of icy Gatorade lying around the house this evening, it would not have been inappropriate to douse me with it after supper, cause, baby, that gumbo was a winner!
I’m suddenly Jonesing for some gumbo. My father’s family being from the area of Dry Prong, Louisiana, always brought a fun flair of cajun cooking to the house The last time i remember me-maw (you can laugh but it’s her name) cooking on a visit to our house in Georgia all I remember is it smelled horrible all day, but the gumbo was sooo good. I was all of 15 maybe. I vaguely remember squirrel and duck mulligan and lots of fun fish creations from my childhood. Added to the Saint’s mania is that Mardi Gras is around the corner, and I always crave some good crawfish etouffe and jambalaya. Washed down the a Hurricane of course!
Maybe we can make that happen next time we’re all at Grace’s.
Sheri’s Mom had a bakery at the old Housewive’s Market ack in the 70’s. Also, the son (Bob) of Parenti Poultry was an employee of mine when I worked at Kaiser.