Monday, January 5, 2009

eula mae gumbo

last week, i successfully prepared a recipe i found in the times sunday magazine "the lives they lived" issue. this particular recipe belonged to cajun cook eula mae dore, who was commemorated in the issue. i was inspired to make her sausage-and-shrimp gumbo because i've never made anything like it before and after recalling my spectacular meal at jacques imo's in new orleans last summer, i was eager to try something new and different!

we started off with one of my favorite, simple salads: a boston lettuce wedge, topped with radishes, scallions, drizzled buttermilk ranch dressing, and cracked pepper.

after we ate the salad, i threw the shrimp into the gumbo, which had been cooking for about 25-30 minutes already. this took a couple of minutes...

...and then, voila! the final product!

and the recipe...

Shrimp-and-sausage gumbo, Eula Mae style.
- serves 6-8 -

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound andouille smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (chorizo may be substituted)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sliced fresh okra or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen sliced okra, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
2 bay leaves
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, green parts only
Cooked long-grain white rice (optional).

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl.

2. In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic and cook, scraping the brown bits from the bottom, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the sausage, okra, salt, cayenne, Tabasco and bay leaves. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the shrimp and green onions and simmer just until the shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and season to taste with more salt and cayenne. Serve in soup bowls, over hot rice if you choose.

My friend Adam unexpectedly brought over ingredients for an ingenious dessert: grape soda floats!

We scooped out some vanilla ice cream into glasses and topped them off with Welch's grape soda! I also put together some whipped cream, adding some vanilla and sugar to the cream, and then we topped out floats with dollops of cream!

everything was really good. the salad is very light and easy to assemble. i was able to prepare it simultaneously with the gumbo. this salad reminds me of freeman's... the gumbo was extraordinarily exciting--maybe because i've never made anything like it before and never thought to either. it was spicy, meaty, and satisfying. altogether a very unique cooking experience. lastly, of course, the grape soda floats were like little secret surprises at the end of the night. i think i just may prefer them to root beer floats and cola floats, and probably just about all kinds of floats.

ta da!


Alex said...

Wow, that Gumbo looks awesome, I'm gonna give that a shot (sans the pig-meat).

Thea J White said...

Hi, Eula Mae was my husbands grandmother, and my daughters great-grandmother. She cared for my daughter (now 4) for the 1st 3 1/2 years of her life. The anniversary of her death is approaching, and I wanted to let you know that she would have been thrilled to hear that her recipies are being used and enjoyed all over the country. I have hand-written recipies that she kept for me thru the years and her gumbo was one of the best... Although I must say I have never seen a gumbo like the one you prepared. Down south the gumbo is more of a soup, served with a scoop of rice... But your version looks very tasty. If you would like to try her chicken and sausage gumbo recipe please email me... I will give you her unpublished recipe. I actually prefer it to the seafood. Her cooking was the best, but her heart and soul is what she is best remembered for.... Thea White, New Iberia La. (