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Friday we had a “snow/ice” day…at least that was the media hype. No matter. It is was my day off!
I was already planning on making a DELICIOUS pot of chicken/sausage gumbo for the BIG GAME! The icy road conditions were of no concern to me personally because I had planned ahead and purchased my groceries the day before.
Cooking up, that’s a New Orleans term, one of my all time favorite recipes reminds me of my childhood and days gone by, spent at my Mamaw’s house.
Food and family were always an event!
My Dad is/was the youngest of 9 siblings. This meant family gatherings were filled with lots of Aunts and Uncles and dozens of cousins. My Grandmother had 9 children + their 9 spouses + their 26 children = 45 people gathered together for dinner!!
Now, we are scattered across the country, and sometimes the world, and family gatherings are smaller more intimate affairs.
For the record I miss those days…I miss all the hugs and laughter. I miss that big family feeling. But on this day we are together, if only in the memory of a wonderful family tradition. Cooking Gumbo!
Cooking Gumbo is also an event! Gumbo is a lot like a family. There are lots of unique ingredients that on their own are good. However, when they are mixed together something incredible happens. Just think about oil and flour. On their own they are important and serve a purpose, but when you blend the two together…well its MAGIC!
There is so much to prep before you can begin the gumbo. Once you commit to making the roux there is no time for dicing veggies or potty breaks. You will want to have your favorite beverage within reach. You will want to call your family and let them know you are cooking gumbo so they won’t call while you are in the middle of stirring your roux. You will probably want to tweeet and post on facebook what is about to happen. You just want everyone to know; don’t call me, I’ll call you. You should have everything you need close at hand. You may even consider having a helper. Here is the run down of what needs to happen: dice onion, bell pepper and celery, make stock, roast chicken, make Roux, add veggies, add stock, de-bone chicken, add chicken, simmer for 1 hour, add sausage, add green onions, add seasoning, simmer another 20 minutes, make rice.
This process is going to take a little time.
Every self-respecting Louisiana cook has a copy of the “Talk About Good” cookbook within easy reach. This is my second copy…the first one mysteriously disappeared. I think I may have lost it in the divorce. Back then it would have been the only thing I had that was worth something.
C’est la vie!
Fortunately for me, my sister gifted a revised edition to my wonderul husband, who by the way is a great cook, for Christmas a couple of years ago. Thanks, Sis!
Every Gumbo begins with a beautiful caramel colored roux! Making a roux requires commitment and patience. This roux took 25 minutes of continual stirring and scrapping.
Families require commitment and patience! You will probably agree that some require a little more than others.
Every Louisiana Gumbo contains the Cajun trinity, a Cajun mirepoix; diced onion, bell pepper and celery.
Families are a mirepoix, a blend of unique individuals. Each one is ok on their own, but when they are thrown into the family mix things can either blend together or fall apart.
I am a NOLA girl at heart!
I thought it would be nice while the Gumbo is coming together we could spend a little time walking through my beloved hometown taking in the sights and talking about family.
lets take a little stroll around the square…
Welcome to Jackson Square!
The square has been in existence in one form or another since New Orleans was settled. The most famous of the attractions are the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cafe Du Monde & the French Market. The square looks much the same as it did in 1814. For almost 200 years families have been coming to the square to worship, trade and be entertained.
back in the kitchen….
When your roux has reached the perfect color, add your mirepoix mix and cook until tender.
just across the street from the square…
Here are two staples of New Orleans life, Jax Brewery & Community Coffee. New Orleanians have been brewing up Community Coffee for family and friends for decades. Growing up I remember that everyday at 3pm my Grandmother would serve cake and coffee to whoever stopped by. And everyday family and friends did stop by her house for the three C’s; cake, coffee and conversation. It is a family tradition!
meanwhile back in the kitchen…
Your chicken has been roasting away. It is now ready to be taken off the bone and added to the pot. Always make sure your poultry has reached the correct temperature.
let me show you whats just around the corner…
New Orleans is famous for her courtyards and balconies. These are places where family and friends gather for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and evening cocktails.
the aroma from the kitchen is calling our name…
After adding the chicken to the pot simmer for 1 hour. Next add the Andouille Sausage, green onions and seasoning. Another 15 minutes of simmering, prepare the rice and you are ready to enjoy!
It’s Dinner Time!
A little evening stroll will finish up our tour of the city…
New Orleans is also known for the alleyways and antique shoppes. The alleyways lead into beautiful courtyards that are filled with memories of family events. The antique shoppes are filled with family treasures from the past.
New Orleans has so many options for an enjoyable weekend getaway for family and friends, there really is something for everyone!
New Orleans, Family and Gumbo! When all of the ingredients come together it can be a memorable event.
Laissez les bon temps roule!!!
A few more NOLA posts you may want to check out:
All photographs in this post are my own.