Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tonight's dinner

I got out of work today at 2:30. We are so unbelievably slow. It's the calm after the holiday storm. I wanted to go for a run on the treadmill, an urge that very rarely hits, and one that I had to let subside when I realized that my trainers are sitting in my locker at work.

I got the recipe for the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Potbelly today.*** On a bad day, I would kill someone for one of those cookies. It's impossible to estimate how many lives have been saved since I can now make them on my own.

Having a bunch of time on my hands, I decided to make gumbo. It's been a very long time since I last made it; maybe three years? Turn on the stereo, have a glass of wine. I forgot how long of a process it is. Gumbo's not fast because roux is not fast. The act of rendering oil and flour into a brown, nutty, silky state takes about 30 minutes of constant stirring. You can make risotto in that amount of time. And then, after the roux is straightened out, the rest of the ingredients need to cook and meld together for a good amount of time. Long story short, it took a couple hours from start to finish, but it came out quite lovely. Not insanely spicy, but definitely hot enough, and there's a ton of it left for sharing tomorrow.

Seafood and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined. Reserve shells.
3/4 quarts water
2 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 c. veg oil
1/2 c. AP flour
3 T butter
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 lb. andoille sausage cut into slices (I used chicken andoille since it was on hand)
1 1/2 c. okra
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 t. fresh thyme
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2/3 c. hot pepper sauce
1 c. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 lb. fresh crabmeat

Boil shrimp shells, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 of diced onion, and water. Partially cover. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain.

Make a roux by heating the oil and gradually adding in the flour, stirring out the lumps from each addition. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until roux reaches a deep caramel color (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and continue to stir until cool.

Melt butter in large pot. Add remaining onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook until onions are soft.

Add sausage and cook 5 minutes. Add okra and garlic, stirring until okra stops producing white threads.

Add remaining bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir well. Add shrimp stock and tomatoes. Bring to boil, cover partially, and simmer 20 minutes.

Whisk in roux. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Stir in shrimp and crabmeat, cooking just until shrimp is opaque.

Serve over white rice, if you know what's good for you.

***Thanks for all of the requests, but I'm not giving out the recipe. It's the intellectual property of Potbelly. Click the back button, and try the next Google search result.