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Displaced Texan

The OFFICIAL Displaced Texan’s gumbo thread

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There’s a little back story behind this gumbo...

 

I can’t believe this was 40 years ago, but starting when I was a young man of about 14, I spent my summers working on the Mississippi river, aboard the towboats, pushing barges full of petrochemical products up and down the lower river.

I started off as a deckhand, and after a while, I sat for my ‘tankermans’ license. I was in charge of loading liquid cargo, like gasoline, toluene, and other petrochemicals into barges. I think I was about 16. 

Later, when I turned 18, I sat for my inland pilots license exam. 

I worked as a relief pilot on and off for a few years, mostly holidays and summers, while I was in college. 

While I was working aboard the M/V Dixie Power, there was an old Cajun cook aboard the boat. He was from the bayous of south Louisiana. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name, (hell, I don’t think I could pronounce it), but he used to make this gumbo for the crew about once a week. 

 

I loved it..and he taught me how to make it. While he didn’t teach me ALL his gumbo secrets, he taught me enough to be dangerous.

 

So, in the spirit of that old Cajun, let’s make a gumbo!!! 

 

Just like most all Cajun cooking, first, you make a roux. 

Not just any roux, for a proper gumbo, you want a nice, chocolate colored roux. The best way to do this, so you’re not stirring it forever, is in the oven. It’s a (mostly) hands off process. 

 

Heat your oven to 350°. Take 2 cups of AP flour, and 1.5 cups vegetable oil,  and whisk them together until smooth in your cast iron skillet. 

Stick this in the oven, and give it a good stir every 20 mins or so. 

Should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, but the result will be a nice, chocolate brown roux. 

Time consuming, but you pretty well can’t screw it up using this method. 

 

While the roux is doing its thing in the oven, it’s time to get chopping the veggies for the holy trinity, another gumbo essential. 

 

About 4-5 stalks of celery. 

2 large yellow onions

2 large bell peppers. 

 

Chop em up, and sauté them with a little oil (or bacon fat if you’re felling froggy). 

Cook the veggies until the onions are translucent. Toss in some chopped garlic, a tablespoon or so, or more if you’re so inclined. 

 

When the roux is done, add it, and the holy trinity into a large stock pot. 

Cook them a bit together until they are nicely combined. 

Add 4 quarts of stock. I usually make my own seafood or chicken stock. I didn’t have enough homemade stock, so I used 2 quarts of homemade shrimp stock, and 2 quarts of store bought chicken stock. 

 

Let this simmer for awhile, add some Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning to taste, and now, you have a good base for a pot of gumbo. 

 

By definition, gumbo is an amalgamation of different things. Sometimes it’s made to clean out the refrigerator, or the freezer. 

Sometimes it’s made with the catch of the day, from a from a fishing trip, or fresh kill from a duck hunting trip.

 

I was chatting with @Bighungry618 the other day about it...and I think he put it best. “Gumbo has no rules”.  A gumbo is anything you want it to be. 

 

Well, mine, has some ‘guidelines’. 

I never add okra to a roux based gumbo...because that’s the way I was taught. That doesn’t mean you can’t...I just don’t. 

On that note, I DO like an okra gumbo though.....

 

For this gumbo, I’m throwing in a bunch of chicken wings, and about 2 lbs of cooked smoked sausage (before Big Hungry loses his mind...I would NORMALLY use andouille sausage, but Mrs Tex said it was too spicy for her). So, smoked sausage it is.  Gotta keep the boss lady happy. 

I also had a couple of smoked turkey legs in the freezer Mrs Tex was after me to use. I cut that meat off the bone and tossed that in there too. That’ll add a touch of nice, smoky flavor to this little batch of loveliness. 

 

After it simmers for an hour or so, when the chicken wings are nice and tender, it’s ready to add seafood. 

I added 2 lbs of shrimp, and about a pound of jumbo lump crab meat (since my local fish monger didn’t have any crawfish).  You can add anything you like. Oysters, scallops, fish...you do you.

You can turn off the heat at this point...the shrimp will cook in the pot and turn nice and pink. 

 

Serve it in a large bowl, with a scoop of white rice in the middle. 

Top it with a little green onion, or chopped parsley (or both!!). 

If you like, a little gumbo fil’e powder (which is dried sassafras). Maybe a little Crystal hot sauce, or another dash of Cajun seasoning. 

 

Don’t forget some warm French bread, for sopping up the bottom of the bowl! You’re gonna wanna, that’s for sure!! 

 

Good eats, y’all! 

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Thanks for the detail.

This is enough to allow me to attempt this.

I would probably do shrimp since we always tend to have raw shrimp on the freezer.  We do skewers as a quick meal.

I would probably also do some chicken in there, you just threw it in raw?  I guess an hour or so on a slow simmer?

I worry a bit about chicken, but that's probably enough time.

How long on the shrimps?   I know they cook fast, but can it cook too long?

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Yep, threw the chicken in the stock raw, and let it cook for a few hours. It falls off the bone. 
 

Shrimp doesn’t take much time to cook. Pretty much when it turns pink, it’s done. Most people overcook seafood. 
 

The biggest piece of advice I can give you; good gumbo is ALL about the roux. Don’t skimp on giving it the time and love  it deserves, or it won’t have that rich, dark flavor. Use the oven method. Stir it fairly frequently, and the color will change to that lovely chocolate color. Don’t be scared that you’re gonna burn it, the oven method works perfectly! 
Remember....always add the liquid to the roux...never add roux to the liquid. You’ll end up with a mess. 

 

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Looks delicous! Im a picky eater, but i def dig some chunks of meat outta that soup and make a meal! :D

Loved your description of your youth and working the chemical boats.. As soon as i read it, it made me think of this awesome song and the descriptions in it...

 

https://youtu.be/pYdvxBxHX2U

 

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22 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

There’s a little back story behind this gumbo...

 

I can’t believe this was 40 years ago, but starting when I was a young man of about 14, I spent my summers working on the Mississippi river, aboard the towboats, pushing barges full of petrochemical products up and down the lower river.

I started off as a deckhand, and after a while, I sat for my ‘tankermans’ license. I was in charge of loading liquid cargo, like gasoline, toluene, and other petrochemicals into barges. I think I was about 16. 

Later, when I turned 18, I sat for my inland pilots license exam. 

I worked as a relief pilot on and off for a few years, mostly holidays and summers, while I was in college. 

While I was working aboard the M/V Dixie Power, there was an old Cajun cook aboard the boat. He was from the bayous of south Louisiana. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name, (hell, I don’t think I could pronounce it), but he used to make this gumbo for the crew about once a week. 

 

I loved it..and he taught me how to make it. While he didn’t teach me ALL his gumbo secrets, he taught me enough to be dangerous.

 

So, in the spirit of that old Cajun, let’s make a gumbo!!! 

 

Just like most all Cajun cooking, first, you make a roux. 

Not just any roux, for a proper gumbo, you want a nice, chocolate colored roux. The best way to do this, so you’re not stirring it forever, is in the oven. It’s a (mostly) hands off process. 

 

Heat your oven to 350°. Take 2 cups of AP flour, and 1.5 cups vegetable oil,  and whisk them together until smooth in your cast iron skillet. 

Stick this in the oven, and give it a good stir every 20 mins or so. 

Should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, but the result will be a nice, chocolate brown roux. 

Time consuming, but you pretty well can’t screw it up using this method. 

 

While the roux is doing its thing in the oven, it’s time to get chopping the veggies for the holy trinity, another gumbo essential. 

 

About 4-5 stalks of celery. 

2 large yellow onions

2 large bell peppers. 

 

Chop em up, and sauté them with a little oil (or bacon fat if you’re felling froggy). 

Cook the veggies until the onions are translucent. Toss in some chopped garlic, a tablespoon or so, or more if you’re so inclined. 

 

When the roux is done, add it, and the holy trinity into a large stock pot. 

Cook them a bit together until they are nicely combined. 

Add 4 quarts of stock. I usually make my own seafood or chicken stock. I didn’t have enough homemade stock, so I used 2 quarts of homemade shrimp stock, and 2 quarts of store bought chicken stock. 

 

Let this simmer for awhile, add some Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning to taste, and now, you have a good base for a pot of gumbo. 

 

By definition, gumbo is an amalgamation of different things. Sometimes it’s made to clean out the refrigerator, or the freezer. 

Sometimes it’s made with the catch of the day, from a from a fishing trip, or fresh kill from a duck hunting trip.

 

I was chatting with @Bighungry618 the other day about it...and I think he put it best. “Gumbo has no rules”.  A gumbo is anything you want it to be. 

 

Well, mine, has some ‘guidelines’. 

I never add okra to a roux based gumbo...because that’s the way I was taught. That doesn’t mean you can’t...I just don’t. 

On that note, I DO like an okra gumbo though.....

 

For this gumbo, I’m throwing in a bunch of chicken wings, and about 2 lbs of cooked smoked sausage (before Big Hungry loses his mind...I would NORMALLY use andouille sausage, but Mrs Tex said it was too spicy for her). So, smoked sausage it is.  Gotta keep the boss lady happy. 

I also had a couple of smoked turkey legs in the freezer Mrs Tex was after me to use. I cut that meat off the bone and tossed that in there too. That’ll add a touch of nice, smoky flavor to this little batch of loveliness. 

 

After it simmers for an hour or so, when the chicken wings are nice and tender, it’s ready to add seafood. 

I added 2 lbs of shrimp, and about a pound of jumbo lump crab meat (since my local fish monger didn’t have any crawfish).  You can add anything you like. Oysters, scallops, fish...you do you.

You can turn off the heat at this point...the shrimp will cook in the pot and turn nice and pink. 

 

Serve it in a large bowl, with a scoop of white rice in the middle. 

Top it with a little green onion, or chopped parsley (or both!!). 

If you like, a little gumbo fil’e powder (which is dried sassafras). Maybe a little Crystal hot sauce, or another dash of Cajun seasoning. 

 

Don’t forget some warm French bread, for sopping up the bottom of the bowl! You’re gonna wanna, that’s for sure!! 

 

Good eats, y’all! 

C9F958D5-E27D-4517-8BE5-CC4FD2C45826.jpeg

8EB45CDE-933D-4384-AD23-5CF2E66C0AC6.jpeg

90866789-D2B8-4E18-8379-93BCC05BFF17.jpeg

D0A427D8-55D1-4DE4-9862-F6049632989F.jpeg

6777C48D-F302-4699-B1E8-D6CD76838E44.jpeg

7E325CFC-46FA-49D9-8D22-C2486135BBCB.jpeg

BDBFA438-9F89-4B96-A8C8-57852A25DDC7.jpeg

My mouth is watering.  

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14 minutes ago, gleninjersey said:

That looks delicious.  Now give us a write up for some venison chil!

I’ve done a chili thread before. Currently, I don’t have any venison...need to make a trip to the ranch and take a couple of deer. And a pig or two. 

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1 hour ago, TurnpikeTed said:

For me, I love me some Okra in mine. Ain't a gumbo without IMHO. But what's your take on tomatoes? I prefer mine with some tomatoes--creole style.

I’ve had okra based gumbo that had tomatoes in it. That’s more of a creole gumbo than a Cajun gumbo. I guess it’s more of a regional, or a cooking style thing. 
 

For example, I always thought a Creole gumbo had a light roux, okra, and tomatoes. Usually had less meat or seafood. Creole gumbos always has rice cooked IN them. 

 Dark roux gumbo was a Cajun thing (I don’t know why), and had more meat or seafood. I’ve never seen a Cajun gumbo with okra or tomatoes. Cajun gumbos were always served OVER rice. It wasn’t cooked in the gumbo broth like a creole gumbo. 

I dont know of those are hard and fast ‘rules’, but that’s what I observed over the years. 



It’s interesting the differences between the French creoles and the French Cajuns, and their cooking styles. 
 

A little rambling...

 

Much of Creole cooking evolved from the black slaves in the Louisiana area. They used more veggies, and the meat they used were more of what many would consider to be ‘scrap’ meat in their cooking. Chitterlings is a good example of this. Damn, they smell...but they are pretty tasty. Creole cooking was more plant based, with meat (scrap meats) as a flavoring, but meats generally weren’t a main event in their gumbos, and a lot of their other cooking. Red beans and rice was another good example of this (although that dish was most likely rooted in the Caribbean islands rather than Louisiana). 
 

Cajun cooking was a bit different. The Cajuns were more hunters and fishermen, and they used what they shot or caught. More meat based than the creole cooking. We were friends with a few of the French Cajun families on the bayou Lafouche,  (because of my dad, and what he did for a living), and would regularly go hunting or fishing with them. They treated us like family. Very clan-ish people. They didn’t take to ‘outsiders’ very well, but once they knew you, you were family for life. Very self sufficient people who knew how to live off the land/water. 

I remember going to shoot Nutria rats with one of the boys my age, I was a teenager at the time. We push poled out in the bayous in a pirouge, a small, shallow, flat bottom boat that you stood up in and pushed through the shallow swamps, and hunted these things with .22s.  I thought it was just target practice, and was was pretty surprised when I found they ATE them. I never (knowingly) ate nutria rat, but I knew those Cajuns would eat damn near anything they caught or killed. 
 

Both used rice (and beans) extensively in their cooking. Spice palates were similar, due to the region. Peppers of several varieties, sassafras, chicory, all kinds of things. 
 

 

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On 10/10/2020 at 7:58 PM, Displaced Texan said:

I’ve done a chili thread before. Currently, I don’t have any venison...need to make a trip to the ranch and take a couple of deer. And a pig or two. 

Recall what title was?  I'm searching Chili and seeing lots of "cashew Chili" results.  Whatever the hell that is.

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@Displaced Texan Thank you sir.  I would have never found that.

I'm going to try to make some up tomorrow.  

I have "chain meat" (at least I think that's what it is) from when my wife purchased  2 slabs of ribs from Restaurant Depot back when the pandemic  first hit.  I cut them up into rib streaks and roasts.  Saved a bunch of the scraps / chain meat to be used along side the venison I need to use up from last year's hunt to make room for this seasons deer.

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19 minutes ago, voyager9 said:

So honest question, why not beans?

I think it’s a regional thing. Personally, I don’t think beans belong in chili, but if you like it, toss em in there. 
I’ve always thought they were served on the side in traditional chili. 

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