Freitag, 14. Juni 2013

Shrimp Gumbo and southern cornbread

I love Cajun cooking – I like the music too (guess there are not many around here who are fond of Cajun music..). So today I prepared Gumbo because I had a good amount of okras in my fridge.
Gumbo is just okras in a brown sauce made of roux and the rest depends. Everything goes but I stayed with something more easy to buy: Shrimps, would like to add some mussles too but had none...

Gumbo with cornbread
cornbread soaked with sauce

First you have to prepare the roux. Dark roux was in good use for centuries, wellknow and much liked in the german cuisine but dark or brun roux (german Einbrenne) lost the fame because it is now called unhealthy (acrylamide - yes, it is true, we will all have to die someday and maybe not that healthy). Nowadays people buy instant brown sauce powder loaded with artificial flavoring and food colouring (huge amount of E-numbers) - I don't think this is healthier but well. I will never buy this. I will stick to the real thing and unhealthy stuff.
Roux is something for people with strong arms and fondness for a certain kind of boredom turning into some Zen state of mind because it takes time to prepare and it is fickle: Roux needs your attention, once burnt you have to start from the beginning and you have to watch and stir and watch and stir, watch and stir, watch and stir.

Here we are:

5 tablespoons flour
7 tablespoons clarified butter

Melt butter in a heavy pot. Add the flour gradually and stir the flour without pausing. Stir for 20+ minutes or until the flour turns chocolate brown – no black particles are allowed, not even one!! It tends to burn quickly so stir (best to use a silicon spatule) and watch the temperature. Add water, in a small but steady flow, untilthe roux reminds you on cooking chocolate pudding (maybe 750 ml water did not measure), whisk well and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add water whenever it thickens too much.

Now to the Gumbo
4 servings

1 cup celery stalks, diced in small dices
1 cup carrot, same sized dices
1 cup onion, same sized dices
1 bell pepper, diced (I used red because I dislike green bell peppers)
2 garlic gloves, minced
500 g Okras, rubbed with salt, rinsed with cold water, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 garlic sausage, diced
500 g shrimps, raw, peeled – keep the shells
oil for cooking
1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning (just sweet chili and hot chili, pepper, allspice, garlic, onion, tarragon, oregano) google for Emeril Lagasse's essence cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon molasses
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
2 bay leaves
½ Birdeye chili, chopped
6 parsley stems, leave parts chopped

Fry the shrimp shells in oil until crisp and colorful, remove and add the celery, carrot, peppers, onion, sausage and garlic. Fry until the onion turns translucent, add spices, let roast a little until fragrant, add tomato paste, fry a little more, add okras and enough roux to cover, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, chili, salt, molasses. Let simmer until the okras are soft, add shrimps and turn of the heat and let sit covered. Before serving remove the herbs and bay leaves add chopped parsley. How much salt depends, adjust seasoning to your liking.

4 servings


100 g butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup bright yellow cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180 C.  Melt butter in a pan until foaming hot and lightly browned, sieve through a fine mashed metal strainer to remove the protein particles.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk eggs with buttermilk and add to the flour, add slightly cooled down butter and whisk until just combined (don’t overdo: it is best to stir by hand with a balloon whisk).

Add 2 tablespoons butter to a square cast iron pan (a small one would be nice about 20 cm) mine is bigger so the bread is a little too flat. Heat the butter until smoking hot. Add and spread the batter and bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 20+ minutes until golden. Toothpick probe should come out clean after poked in the middle of the bread.  

Serve warm. Try a little treacle/molasses on a piece of cornbread - heavenly...

cornbread fresh out of the oven


Sissi hat gesagt…

It looks very New Orleans to me. Even the cornbread! (Although I'm far from being a specialist...). I don't think I like cajun music, but if you like jazz and New Orleans, have you seen the Treme series? It's excellent! Both from the point of view of music and cinematographic. Well-done tv series are rare... I strongly recommend.
I have often heard about gumbo but never tasted it. It looks great. Makes me hungry!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Cajun music you love or you hate it. I don't like all pieces but there are some really brilliant. For example sitting at my porch, sipping southern tulip, steaming hot, humid summers night and maybe I would like to dance, that is the moment for cajun music :-) But yes, I like jazz too (but not New Orleans dixieland). Did you ever listen to that, is it cool or what (dave brubeck played by a japanese Koto master:

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Wow, I don't want to make authentic roux, but I'd like to taste yours!!!
And the cornbread. I like your recipe because it doesn't call for sugar!

Sissi hat gesagt…

Thank you for the link. Very interesting!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Hiroyuki: The original southern cornbread comes always without sugar, but it tastes incredible good (when still fresh and warm) with some treacle (molasses) spooned over it.
There are lots of cornbread recipes out there calling for lots of fat and sugar. They remind me more on poundcakes.