Wednesday Food: The Holy Trinity

The great thing about going to culinary school is that it gives you the skills and basics to figure out how to make just about anything.  You may be wondering what The Holy Trinity is all about.. well it is this week's lessons in flavor!

With many recipes, especially soups and stews, that we start off sauteing a group of vegetables.  This group is called mirepoix (pronounced mihr-pwah) and is used as a flavor base.  It is also used when making stock, whether it be beef, chicken or of course veggie.  Different cuisines will have different sets of veggies.  For example:

Classical French (basic) - onions, carrots and celery
Asian - garlic, ginger and scallions
Creole - onions, celery and peppers ("the holy trinity")

You guessed it, we are cooking up some creole style food and it shall be Gumbo!  This was the first time I've made it and to the best of my knowledge Eric was a gumbo virgin too.  So we are all going on this new adventure - and what better adventure, than a food one?  You always know by the end you'll be having something tasty!

Gumbo

2 Andouille Sausages
3T. Butter
1/4c. flour
3 celery ribs, chopped small
1 onion, rough chopped
1 green pepper, rough chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 veggie bouillon cube
2T. paprika (love that paprika!)
2t. cayenne pepper
3 tomatoes, rough chopped
8 okra, sliced
1# frozen shrimp (yeah we did that, it's cheap!)
3c. water
Salt and pepper, to taste

 1) First order of business, take your sausages and brown them in a pot.  Once they're done, take them out, cut into chunks and set them aside.

2) With the oils still left in the pot, put the butter in to melt.  Cook the butter until it gets a slight brown color and a pleasant roasty scent to it.  You don't want it to burn, so be careful!  Once you get it to brown, stir in the flour.  Continuously stir til the roux has a nutty scent to it and darkens a bit.  But be attentive and don't let it burn!  This is a dark roux.  And it does a great job of thickening the gumbo, and gives it a deeper flavor.  Set it aside when its done.


 3) In a soup pot, saute your celery, onion, pepper and garlic with the bouillon cube.  Sweat them for a few minutes and add your paprika and cayenne.  Saute for another 5-7 minutes.


4) Add your tomatoes and okra.  Stir that around, let it cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the water along with the sausage and shrimp.  We used shrimp with the tails on because A) it looks cool and B) the shells can add a bit of flavor when it cooks in the stew.


5) At this point you can just let it cook and do it's thing.  We let it cook for about an hour and a half.

6) With your roux in a bowl, add some of the broth to the roux and whisk till smooth.  Then add it back to the pot and whisk in.  Let the gumbo come to a boil so that the flour can thicken it.  Season with salt and pepper.

For a 1st attempt at this dish, it didn't come out bad!  It had a great spice to it and who can resist a stew?  You know I love them!   As always, with many of the recipes that I share, you can adjust as you like.  Add more okra, less shrimp, or add chicken!  However you like it - Have fun!


And remember, when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and keep cooking!

-BabyStella
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