Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gumbo Ya-Ya

I totally didn't have any idea what the term gumbo ya-ya really meant. So, I looked it up. Gumbo ya-ya appears to mean "everybody talking at once, or a big party". That everybody- talking-at-once thing sounds a bit familiar to me...and makes me think someone's been listening to my van on the way home from school everyday!
Anyway, it's been downright chilly here in beautiful middle Tennessee. I love the cold weather and being able to cook those long-simmering dishes that warm the house and the heart.
That said, The Daddy loves Cajun food. So one morning when I asked for dinner ideas, gumbo was his request. I'd never even made roux! But now that I've done it, I can see why it's the start of so many good things.
Here's my roux, all lovely and brown. It took right at 10 minutes over medium heat to achieve that color. It smelled a little burned to me as it got to the end, but the taste was exactly right.

Next, I put my onions and garlic in a large pot.
(I did mine on the stove instead of the crockpot but you know I'm just a rebel).
Then I added the roux and cooked the onions until they were soft. I didn't add the bell pepper because we don't use cooked bell pepper in our house.

Really, I didn't cook the onions too long so as not to actually burn the roux. I did cover the pot for a bit to steam them. Then I uncovered it and added the chopped sausage. I used this brand that I got at Publix. We really like it and it's not greasy at all. Anyway, I cooked that for a little while for no real reason other than it seemed like the thing to do.

I added the okra, tomatoes, cayenne and black pepper. Now, here's where I totally messed up the recipe, but it turned out great. I added the water that was supposed to be used for cooking the rice. Yup, I did that. Since I was cooking it on the stovetop instead of in the crockpot like the recipe was intended, I just simmered it without a lid and it was fine. was.
See?! It simmered about 2-3 hours and it smelled so wonderful.

Now here's where you decide how much you want to eat now and how much you want to freeze. I froze some without shrimp and then added shrimp to the rest and we ate that right away. The remainder is tucked away in my freezer and only needs to be heated up the shrimp added for a quick and delicous hot meal.
It is important that you only cook the shrimp for a few minutes or they will get tough and chewy. Ugh. But shrimp that are just cooked through...well, yum!
I made rice and served it over the rice. It was warm and tasty on a cold evening.
I added quite a bit of this to my bowl and The Daddy, being an overachiever, added a lot of this to his.
"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"