Gramma Lake's 36 Hour Gumbo
(My best attempt to replicate Granma Lake's Gumbo, in Taste and Texture, if not in preparation and ingredients.)
As a Kid, I remember spending the weekend at Gramma Lake's house. All the Aunts and Uncles, along with cousins would gather to visit, and us kids would climb the trees in the yard and scour the neighborhood for bottles to turn in for the deposit; mainly able to run free so long as we kept out of the sight (but within sound) of the adults. They would stay gathered around the kitchen table, drinking coffee or cocktails, smoking cigarettes and talking. We did not do full sit down dinners; there was not room and how often do twenty people actually all get hungry at the same time anyway? The Gumbo was always there, and other things would be cooking and eaten as they were pulled from the stove or oven, steaming hot and bubbling.
Cornbread, Potato salad and a Roast, with bisquits only 10 minutes from done at any given time. There was no excuse for one of us kids to nag the adults with, "I'm hungry", the answer would invariably be, "eat some Gumbo", followed by a set of eyeballs that said "do-you-want-me-to-give-you-something-to-do?. Between the potato salad, the gumbo and lots of french bread and candy, we managed to survive and not irritate the grownups too much.
The taste and texture of the Gumbo would vary thoughout the weekend; Uncle Shorty throwing in a couple of pints of fresh oysters from New Orleans when he got there early Saturday, shrimp off the boat and crabs if us kids could talk Pops into taking us down to the marina to go crabbing. By the end of the weekend, the pot would have a smokey, complex aroma that permeated the house, but the dark thick Gumbo would never last past the football games on Sunday.
First things first. Beverage of your choice is mandatory, sugar cookies
optional. Madi Gras music in the background helps, as does a lack of children in the kitchen. If these
conditions can be met, you are halfway there.
Please keep the following disclaimers in mind, as I can not be
responsible for Spousal Ridicule or loss of kitchen privileges:
1. Granma Lake neither Endorses nor Condones this recipe.
2. All Quantities are reeaal approximate.
3. Any thing can be substituted for any ingredient, the main thing is the preparation.
4. If you have an electric stove, give it up and go to Pappadauex's.
5. Serves 3 hunters for a weekend or 10 regular people for a meal, maybe.
6. Tax, Title and license not included. Check your local laws for applicability.
Step one: Gather the ingredients. I prefer the grocery store but forage
at will. Here is the list for this particular gumbo:
your favorite spices(Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Thyme, Basil etc.)
LCB-two cap full's MAX
3 bell peppers
3 bunches of green onion
1 bunch of celery
1 tomato (Shut up, I put beans in my chili too)
1 white onion
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 small can of corn
Not a damn bit of okra
3 pounds shrimp, I like 24 count
3 pounds cleaned, halved blue crabs (I can only get Frozen here)
2 pounds sausage (Andouie if you can, Elgin if you can't)
1 pint oysters (Gotta be fresh)
1 pint crab claw meat (Also fresh)
Okay, now it is very important to do these next steps exactly as shown,
otherwise, we are making soup, and much time will be wasted.
First, fill your crockpot 3/4 full of water. Add spices, salt, pepper.
Remember that salt can always be added, never taken away, and this gumbo will "salt up" as it reduces.
Turn that up to high, with the lid off, to facilitate chunking stuff in.
This part will take about an hour, require intense concentration, back
breaking labor and a HUGE mess. It can not be avoided, only endured. I suggest several of those
beverages before you begin, with one on standby.
Get two very well seasoned frying pans warmed on the stove (Medium
heat). Leave the best one dry and pour olive oil in to the other until the bottom is well covered. At this
point, I must assume that all the vegetables are washed, the cutting board is next to the stove, and knives
are standing by. Put about 2 cups of flour into the dry frying pan, and do as the picture shows during the
entire rest of this section. If you get more than a curl of smoke off the flour, dump it out and start over.
The flour is browning, the water is boiling, so start cutting. I chop
everything pretty coarse, about the size of your pinkie nail. As you chop it, put 2/3 into the oiled frying
pan, 1/3 into the crockpot. Don't forget to keep stirring the flour. After everything is chopped up, cook
the vegetables in the frying pan for about 10-15 minutes, stirring them constantly as well.
This is all well
and good", you say, "but how am I supposed to maintain beverage consumption, much less smoke?" Well,
the simple answer is you can't. Should have paid closer attention to the early instructions, or read the
whole recipe before beginning.
Now the flour is browning nicely, the vegetables are done and it is
decision time. Taste the stuff in the crock pot. Is it good? Show potential? If it doesn't, pour it out and
start that process over again, and put less salt in it this time. When the stock is right, dump the saute'ed vegtables into the crock pot.
By now, the flour should be about done, so pour olive oil into it and mix thoroughly until the texture is
like crumbly cookie dough.
When you are
finished playing with it, cut it into sections and throw it into the pot. Smash and Stir well. Throw in the halved crabs, and a
few oysters and shrimp(For Tasters). Leave the crockpot on high, lid off for about 3-4 hours, then lid on, low until you go to bed. Be sure and put the pot into the 'fridge before you pass out.
In the morning, put the heat
back on high, add 1/2 of all the Seafood and Sausage and eat when hot. After the each wave of Eaters, add
more of the Seafood and Sausage to complete the recipe. Leave on low until gone, or 2 days, which ever comes first.