Saturday, March 7, 2015

Shrimp & Andouille Gumbo Stew

   I have a bit of a treat for you today. My work place had a competition this week called a soup throw-down. To gear up for this, our bistro had a mini throw-down to pick a couple soups to enter. Out of the five soups offered by five different chefs, Chef Terri Bernstein and myself, were chosen to enter our soups into the throw-down where 11 different bistros would compete. I will be sharing the recipe for the soup I entered. 

   Also, just so I don't leave a cliffhanger, even though we entered great soups for our bistro, we did not place in the top three. Our Executive Chef did ask for us to keep the recipes on hand and make them as regular soups for our soup line. I am also hoping the Chef Terri will guest post her soup on here, but I still have to talk to her about that. 

   Here's a picture of our team before the presentations and tastings.

From left to right: Chef Andrew Bradford, Executive Chef Tom Scaramuzzo, Chef Terri Bernstein and Bistro Manager Carla Diaz.

The Recipe

   Here is the recipe and yes, this a Creole recipe, not a Cajun recipe, since it does use tomatoes. This recipe also yields a gallon or so of stew.

1.5 ounces Bacon; small dice
4.5 ounces Andouille; halved & sliced bias
8 ounces Shrimp
.5 ounces Garlic; minced
5 ounces  Celery; small dice
7 ounces  Bell pepper; small dice
5.5 ounces Onions; small dice
2 ounces Sherry Vinegar
7 ounces Tomatoes; small dice
7 ounces Okra; 1/2 inch cross cut
6 ounces Butter
2 ounces Flour
1 Bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon Gumbo Filé Powder
2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole Seasoning
9 ounces Parboiled Rice
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1 ounce Beef Base
2 ounces Worcestershire
160 fluid ounces Water (20 cups)
Salt and Pepper to taste


   Take the Rice and 16 ounces of the Water, along with the Turmeric and a little Salt and Pepper, and place into a pot and cover. Place onto the stove top on medium heat and cook until al dente, about 20 minutes.

   In sauté pan, melt 3 ounces of Butter and add the 2 ounces of flour as well as 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning, mix fully and toast over medium heat until the Roux becomes dark brown and smells like spicy peanut butter. Put aside until needed later.

   While the rice is cooking,  in a sauce pan or a stock pot, melt 3 ounces of Butter and then add the Bacon and Andouille. Let the Bacon render while the Andouille browns, stirring frequently. Add the Shrimp, Garlic, Celery, Bell pepper and Onions, and sweat until opaque. Add the Sherry Vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add the Tomatoes and Okra. Let gently simmer until Okra is tender and the ingredients take on a starchy look.

   Add the Bay Leaf, Gumbo Filé Powder and the last teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning, mix thoroughly. Add the Beef Base, the Worcestershire and the rest of the Water. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add the Cajun Roux slowly until a nape coats the back of a spoon.  Add the Rice and make final adjustments to seasoning by adding Salt, Pepper and Cajun Seasoning to taste. 

   As a garnish topper, I made little square cornmeal fritters, topped with an andouille, bell pepper and onion salsa and a few shrimp that were marinaded in the salsa, as well as a couple green onion blossoms.

Here is a picture of how I set up my display table.


   Here are a few fun facts that I found while researching this recipe.

   The Cajun movement started in the 1700's as French settlers moved into Louisiana after being removed from the Acadia Region of Canada after a British conquest. At this point any person that immigrated into the Louisiana region was known as Cajun and any person born in the region was Creole, who were usually multiracial. Gumbo was popular from the very poor farmer/hunter all the way to the upper class officials, with each caste using very different ingredients. While the farmers could get access to rabbits, chicken and fish, the aristocrats had access to highly sought after exotic ingredients such as andouille sausage, Caribbean spices and Spanish saffron.

   Also while Cajuns used an oil and flour based roux, Creole gumbos used a butter and flour roux. This dish also combines many cultures to make a great dish. Africa, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Caribbean isles, France and Native American, all influence this dish, whether by ingredient or technique.

   Since a lot of immigrants seemed to be Catholics, Marde Gras was also started when people donning colorful masks and outfits went house to house or farm to farm, to ask and perform for ingredients for a collective gumbo pot, where at the end of the day everything would be tossed into the pot and turned into a gumbo. Fat Tuesday(Marde Gras) marked the beginning of Lent, when many Catholics would begin a fast at sundown, that would last until Good Friday.

   While most would say that a gumbo goes over rice, it was documented in the 1800's that poor farmers were pouring gumbo over a cornmeal mush. Since grits and polenta are very popular in the South it should not come as any surprise.

   Well, I hope you enjoyed this little journey to the deep South! Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried andouille, maybe I will now! Good job Andy!