10.13.2001 (Saturday), 09:46 PM

Gumbo Day

My clothes are still wet from cooking, we put on some Mississippi Sheiks and had it on endless loop...

For some reason, I got real inspired today and made a big old pot of chicken and sausage gumbo. I don't know exactly what it was that inspired me to do this although Jan and I spent the day at the racetrack betting on horses that looked powerful for the 6 furlong races and light on their feet for the longer turf races.

The track brings out the oddest collection(s) of people. I always see a passle of people wheeling their personal oxygen tank and trailing breather-like thingie. Then there are the people with the wild looks in their eyes as they race up to the betting windows to place their bets. I was nearly knocked down by one.

We did ok but as usual didn't come out ahead. We stood in the shade sharing a beer and chatting. I'm not sure what a lazy Southern day is but it might have been something like that. It's prolly the reason for the gumbo.

Since I smoked a pork butt last weekend and had a good chunk of it left over, I cut down the andouille sausage to about a quarter of what I'd usually use. Still, I needed the sausage's kick of smoke and spice. So I browned off all of the meats (chicken legs and thighs, sausage and huge-dice pork butt) in about 30 minutes. Then it would have been a quick trip to make the roux. Heh, what a surprise. Between the two of us, we could only get it to a deep caramel colour instead of the usual chocolate color. We might have stirred it too much. It took ages as well...over 45 minutes. As it turned out, it didn't really matter.

In with the onions, pepper and the stock. The meats made it back there as well. It simmered for a good 2 hours since it looked a little too thin. I like my gumbo to be moderately soup-like so the rice can soak it up...

I also made some mock crawfish bread using fresh rock shrimp. It was the first time in years that I made yeast dough. I love making yeast dough but I was a bit apprehensive. Once I saw it rise, I knew that things were going to be ok. I made eight pieces of crawfish bread and formed the rest into some Sunday morning breakfast bread.

We finally sat down to eat about 4 hours after we started and feasted until we nearly passed out. It was definitely the best gumbo I have ever made and the bread wasn't too bad either.

We're going back to the track in about a month...maybe the inspiration will prove itself true.

Posted by wjc