How do I remember what I ate twelve years ago?
My son was born twelve years ago, that's how!
We were having a damp, cold spell that January. Even though we were living in Bryan, TX at the time, gumbo weather is gumbo weather to a Cajun. So my husband made one.
Not the wisest menu choice.
What follows is not an appropriate story for a food blog.
I'm not always known for saying and doing appropriate things.
Low key is how I'd describe being pregnant with my son. I was never sick. I was not hormonal. (The Husband says I was the Mr. Spock of pregnant people.) I was not uncomfortable. I just was.
Even in the delivery room, I handled the pain well. Didn't snap at anyone (unusual for me) and even calmly buzzed the nurse and said, "I think I'm ready for an epidural, please."
But things kinda went south at some point. After an entire nine months of not being nauseous...there it was. I told the (on call) doctor I might throw up. I told my husband. The nurse. No one seemed to be doing anything about this piece of information I had so nicely alerted them to. I said again, "I'm going to puke." Finally, the nurse handed me a tiny little plastic bin. Barely bigger than a teacup.
Now just what the hell was I supposed to do with that?
So there it was. I barfed. Sort of into the tiny little plastic bin. But mostly all over the doctor...who didn't seem to believe I'd do it in the first place ...and didn't have his face shield in place. My calm, nice, sweet demeanor faded (out of embarrassment) and I snapped, "I told you I was going to throw up."
The nurse asked my husband, "where ya'll from?"
Nurse: "I'm from Baton Rouge. I thought that looked like gumbo."
Not surprisingly, The Boy loves gumbo. It's one of his most favorite meals.
In honor of his birth story/birthday, I can't help but put a gumbo up today.
Made with a guinea hen, which many people here raise, the broth is deliciously rich and decadent--more so than a gumbo made with your average chicken.
Our guinea came from Bubba Frey who raises them, processes them, and sells them in his store just down the road in Mowata, LA.
The husband has been tinkering with his Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from way back. This Guinea Gumbo is a variation of it.
Happy Birthday to my gumbo lover!
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
5 large onions
(at least) 10 cloves garlic, 4 unpeeled, whole and smashed, 6 peeled
6 stalks celery
1 bell pepper
1 guinea hen, cut up
1 lb andouille sausage, sliced in half moons
chicken stock (see below, Step 1)
salt, black pepper, cayenne/red pepper
cooked white rice
2/3 cup green onions (optional)
Step 1: Rough chop 3 onions, 6 cloves garlic, 3 stalks celery, and 1 bell pepper so they fit into the bowl of a food processor. Process the vegetables until mushy. This results in a richer, more flavorful gumbo, but you can hand-chop your vegetables if you don't have a food processor.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water, 2 onions (cut in half), 4 cloves of unpeeled smashed garlic, 3 stalks of celery, a generous amount of black pepper and cayenne pepper. Yes, I season my stock...whatcha gonna do about it? Bring the pot to a boil, add the guinea pieces and cook on a low boil for about 45 minutes. Remove the guinea pieces, let cool, then remove the meat from the bones. Set meat aside or refrigerate if you are making the stock ahead of time. Return the bones to the stock pot and continue to simmer for several hours. Strain the stock and reserve it for adding to the gumbo later. The stock can be made ahead of time.
Brown the andouille in a skillet and set aside.
Step 2: Make a roux by adding 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil in a cast iron, or stainless steel pot. Do not use non-stick cookware. Heat the oil on medium-high heat. Wait until oil is very hot. Then, gradually add flour a little bit at a time, stirring/scraping constantly with a flat-edge spatula. Keep adding flour as roux browns; you will know you've added enough when all of the vegetable oil has combined with the flour and when the roux no longer looks oily.
Stir constantly. This step takes time, usually about half an hour. Roux is done when it is a dark brown color and has gotten considerably thicker than when you began.
Step 3: Assemble the Gumbo. When the roux is done, add the guinea meat and gradually stir in about 6 cups of stock. This will stop the roux from cooking further. Add the processed vegetables to the pot . Simmer for about an hour, then add the andouille. season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Let gumbo cook over medium heat for as long as possible (minimum 1 hour). About half an hour before serving, add green onions and check again for seasoning. This is also when you want to begin cooking your rice.
Step 4: Serving. Serve gumbo over rice. Top with green onions. Leftover gumbo can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. (Note: do not refrigerate or freeze gumbo with rice in it. The rice will absorb the liquid. Store leftover rice separately or make fresh rice for each meal).
Everyone should have more gumbo in their lives
What's in the past... still tastes good