Sunday, December 18, 2005

Holiday Party At Ruth P's House

My neice, P., wanted to have a Christmas party at her paternal Grandmother's home. Ruth P loved everything Christmas. Over the years she accumulated boxes upon boxes of the most most unique and tastefull ornaments, figurines, stuffed animals and all other things Christmas. Ruth P passed away in May 2005 but her grandaughter wanted to display her collection in remembrance.

Anyone who had ever attended one of Ruth P's parties experienced an evening of warmth, excellent food and hospitality. In that P is not culinarily inclined, she called upon family and friends to help her in the kitchen. I had the pleasure of cooking a New Orleans Style Gumbo for 30 people. I adapted my recipe from one by Emeril Lagasse off the Food TV recipe web site. I increased the ingredients to serve 30.
Ready To Serve. For some reason, I missed taking a picture of the Gumbo as served over rice in a bowl. You'll just have to trust me that this Gumbo was jam packed with meats and so very good. Monkey bread was also served. Now I had to accomodate the palates of children and heat sensitive adults, so I limited the cayenne. At the end of the evening, this pot was nearly empty. Did I mention, this Gumbo was off the charts good.

See Flickr Photos for complete Photo Set

GUMBO- (Adapted from recipe by Emeril Lagasse- Food TV Network)
12 servings

3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Essence

Emeril’s Essence- Use only 1 tablespoon of this recipe for the Gumbo:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne
5 bay leaves
8 cups clam juice or chicken stock
1 pound fish pieces (any white fish )
1 pound Andouille Sausage
1 can (28 ounce each) whole or diced peeled Tomatoes
4 lbs boneless chicken (thighs or breast or combination)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound crabmeat canned or in shell or both
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Serve with:
File powder sprinkled over gumbo to thicken before serving (optional)
cooked white rice
chopped green onions

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, whisk in the flour. Stir the mixture constantly for 15 to 20 minutes, for a dark brown roux. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, Essence, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook for 12 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are wilted. Add the stock and mix to blend with the roux. Add chicken and Andouille sausage. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fish pieces and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 15 minutes. Add the crabmeat, green onions and parsley and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the File` powder to thicken at the end.

Ladle the gumbo in a shallow dish. Place a heaping portion or two of the rice in the center of the gumbo. Sprinkle the green onions over top.

At this point, the roux has been made with the celery, onions, bell pepper and herbal seasonings added.
I added the Emeril Essence to the diced boneless chicken prior to adding to the pot.
In place of Andouille sausage, I used a smoked chicken with herb sausage from Trader Joes. Note the jar of Essence to the right of the sausage.
Canned Crab Meat.
For the White Fish, I used Orange Roughy.
Frozen Snow Crab and Shrimp
Fresh Parsley and Oregano
Simmering Goodness


transiit said...

So I'll confess to never having proper gumbo (the closest I've come is the Disneyland New Orleans Square variety and the next closest is Campbell's, which I'm pretty darn sure doesn't even come close to the real thing)

But I know when I have chili, you can do things like offer sour cream as an add-in to mellow out the there something equivalent for gumbo that doesn't equate to total heresy? Or is the only option to tame the whole batch?

Just curious....


Barbara Fisher said...

Oh, now, lady--that is looking mighty fine right there.


I wish I could pop on over for a bowl!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, yes. This bowl of gumbo was the best I've ever had. I'm the sister of the fabulous chef. I'm also the non-cook mother of the super non-cook daughter "P" who had the fabulous party at Ruth P's house. I don't cook regularly, but I'm copying and saving this recipe to some day make next year when I hope to retire and may possibly develop the desire to cook. Thank you, thank you, dear Sister. I defintely loved, enjoyed, and deeply appreciated the fabulous "Turducken" you cooked Thanksgiving, BUT your GUMBO was the the Atomic Bomb and so far my favorite.

Cate said...

You know, I don't think I've ever had gumbo, let alone a proper one. Yours looks gorgeous, and now on the "must try" pile ... gotta love Emeril!

sylvie1950 said...

I must admit as my sister so nicely commented, it was the atomic bomb meaning great. The only other way to tame the heat is with the rice. It is probably easier to just not make too cayenne hot and have those who like heat add it individually.

sylvie1950 said...

Also, I should add, I spent a lot more time than the recipe indicated on getting the roux perfect. The flour in the oil was slowly browned to a deep rich dark mahognany color taking strict caution to not burn at any point in the process(if you do burn start all over.)

BBQ Junkie said...

Your gumbo looks terrific. i usually like to make a pot (chicken, shrimp, sausage) around this time of year. not this year though, my kitchen remains in re-model limbo. ahhhhhg!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a mighty fine pot of gumbo. Nice to know that somebody else in the L.A. area knows how to make Gumbo!

I usually end up using a chicken stock or a homemade shrimp stock. Where in the world do you find 8 cups of clam juice, especially if you don't use clams in the recipe? (I woouldn't anyway!)

Do you go to the New Orleans fish market on Vernon and Arlington for your crab meat? They also fly in Boudin from Louisiana.

I have a recipe for Weeknight Gumbo if you want to check it out. Stop by sometime!

sylvie1950 said...

Bigmista, I enjoyed visitng your site. I've never been to the New Orleans Fish Market but I'll make that a to do. I cheated by using both canned crab (refrigerated Phillips brand from Costco) and frozen crab legs. I like to use the shrimp still in its shell which add a lot of flavor along with the crab legs. Smart and Final sells the large cans of clam juice.

Anonymous said...


When I have time, I boil the shrimp shells with onion, celery, garlic and bell pepper. That way you start with a shrimp stock with even more flavor. Learned that one from my Pop.