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Posts Tagged ‘theminnesota farm woman’

 I love gumbo. It is as much fun to make as it is to eat.  I think I am hearing a loud chorus of groans here,  from my southern friends who are saying, “There is NO WAY a Farm Woman from Minnesota can make a real gumbo!” as well as my northern Minnesota Scandinavian friends whining, “Okra? Ewwwwwww!” or by HIM, who will just say “Why can’t we just have hamburgers like everybody else?”  Y’all be quiet just a minute, because you might just get a little history here, too.  Gumbo is simply a country stew, made from the fresh local ingredients that many Louisiana Farm Women had at the time.  No sausage? Use bacon or ham.  No chicken? Use ‘gator.  It tastes like chicken, anyway. Did you know that the word ‘gumbo’ comes from African word for okra? I also learned while researching for this article that there are several types of gumbo, depending on the thickener, and that gumbo aficionados think that meat and seafood should not be mixed in a traditional gumbo. Well, I have always been a little bit of a rule breaker.  Just ask my mother.  My gumbo is good, despite breaking the rules. Here in Minnesota, it is hard to find fresh okra, so I often use frozen or canned, and it is just fine and not a bit slimy, all you groaners.  You can also grow okra in your garden, but it is one of those vegetables that needs a long hot summer, and we Zone 3 gardeners can’t always count on that.  I also use a Minnesota-grown sunflower oil (http://www.smudeoil.com/), which adds a nutty flavor to the dish. Before you try the recipe, you must know that although is isn’t hard, you must be a patient roux maker.  Gumbo is only as good as the roux, or foundation of the dish. 

Gumbo, Minnesota Farm Woman Style

1/2 cup sunflower oil     1/2 cup flour (approximately)

Heat the oil in the pan over low to medium-low heat in a heavy bottomed pot.  If your pot is big, add a splash more of each until the oil covers the bottom of the pot. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring frequently until mixture turns the color of peanut butter.  The mixture is not meant to be thick at this point.  This takes approximately 30 minutes. Watch carefully, as it scorches easily.

1 medium onion, chopped     1/2 cup green pepper, chopped     1/2 cup celery, chopped   1/2 cup carrot, chopped

6-8 cups hot water or chicken stock, or a mixture of both      1 can diced tomatoes (no need to drain)

2 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning     1 tsp. salt     1 tsp.  pepper     2 cloves garlic, crushed     hot sauce (to taste)     1 tbsp. dried parsley     1 tsp. dried thyme    2 tsp gumbo filet powder (optional)     1 large bay leaf (remove before serving)

Add the chopped vegetables to the roux and cook for 10 minutes. Add hot water/broth and tomatoes and stir. It will thicken quickly at this point.  Add spices and simmer for 1 hour. 

Stir in 2 cups canned, fresh, or frozen okra 

Add 2 cups smoked or andouille sausage,  sliced or coarsely diced and browned     or     2 cups diced boneless skinless chicken thighs, browned     or  2 cups Minnesota-grown gator tail, diced and browned.  Add them all if you want, because this is your dinner and not mine.  Simmer for an additional 1 hour.

Add 1/2 pound fresh or frozen shrimp (peeled and tails removed), during last 10 minutes of cooking.

This is best served with hot cooked rice (white, brown, or Minnesota wild rice).  Serve the rice on the side and let everybody add their own. Add more hot sauce if you dare, and garnish with chopped green onion.  Serves six.

If you want to know where to find the elusive Minnesota alligator, they can probably be found in the swamp behind my house.  I think I just found ‘gator tracks in the snow near the chicken coop.

SAM_0046

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