Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Taste Buds: Mixed Vegetable Gumbo


It is really hard to make a good gumbo and I had to try a bbimch of different recipes with many variations before I found a combination that I loved. And Ohhhh Myyyyyy Gooidneesss, this is so super yummy!

One thing I found out making this recipe is that Canola oil or butter is easier to use to make the roux but in the end I decided to sacrifice easy for healthy. I use a half olive oil half butter combination but seriously to not burn olive oil takes a bit of practice and if you burn the roux the soup is going to taste, well burned. Different oils have different smoking points and oil with a high smoking point like canola oil is much easier. If this is your first time making gumbo use canola oil, however if you are daring try the olive oil butter combination because when it works it is beautiful.

Roux takes time to make but is a wonderful base to many different sauces. You may hear tossed around in recipes with roux for it to be white, tan or chocolate color. Basically the longer you cook roux the browner it gets.


This recipe calls for the darkest red brown or chocolate color like the roux on the far left.

Also with this recipe I decided to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of unbleached flour. Using the whole wheat flour leaves the roux a little bit dirty, so if you want something that looks prettier use the unbleached flour. I however don’t mind the flecks of wheat germ and it is much healthier. You can also use a half wheat flour and half white flour.

2 pounds collard greens – stems removed and chopped
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 onions
1 green pepper
4 stalks celery
4 roma tomatoes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ cup fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 cup okra
2 cups dried kidney beans
3 green onions – green end only
1 ½ cup cooked long grained white rice

1. In a large pan over low heat warm up the olive oil and butter until the butter is melted, turning the heat up to a medium low slowly stir in the flour until smooth and bring to a slow simmer. Stir almost constantly scraping the bottom of the pan with your spoon for about a half hour to forty five minutes. You want the roux to turn a dark reddish brown but the time can vary. Roux is hard to make, you really need to depend on your senses to get it right. If you get the oil and butter too hot it starts to burn and puts off a smoky smell, if the temperature is too low it never quite gets the right color or taste.
2. Once the roux is finished add in the chopped onions, bell pepper, celery and tomatoes, cayenne, thyme, oregano, parsley and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent.
3. Add three cups of vegetable broth, the bay leaves and kidney beans and stir well to combine. Turn the heat up to high and boil get the pot to a rolling boil stirring often. Boil this until it thickens. Add slowly a cup at a time the remaining chicken broth bringing the sauce to a boil and thickening the sauce again between each cup addition. This should take about 2 hours. It should be thinner than a gravy but thicker than heavy cream.
4. You should make adjustments to the sauce here. Here are some suggestions based on how you want your gumbo to taste.
Add salt or the gumbo tastes flat
Add white vinegar if you want more acid
Add paprika for depth
Add sugar for sweetness
Add crushed red pepper flakes for heat
the trick here is to add a TINY BIT at a time (1/4 of a teaspoon) until you get the right taste. Keep adding and adding until it is how you want it but be careful you can always add but you can never take away. Once it tastes the way you want cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Once you cover the gumbo with the lid (30 minutes before it is done) in a separate pot add the 2 cups water and the collard greens and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the pot is boiling turn off the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add the collard greens to the soup and cook covered for 5 more minutes.
6. To serve remove the bay leaves, ladle rice into a bowl and ladle the sauce over top. Garnish with fresh chopped green onions.

1 comment:

paul peggy zeus said...

You could probably feed a third world country with all the food you are preparing - counting all the trials! Oh my goodness!!

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