Coastal Flavor – LuLu’s Gumbo Love

IMG_1941There’s something to be said for someone who can confidently make a delicious gumbo. It’s a really intimidating dish! From so many steps to the stress of a roux, where do you start? I’m the last person you would call a chef but I recently had the pleasure of taking a Gumbo Love class at LuLu’s. The wonderful chef was able to break the process into the steps I’m about to share with you. Is it still a lot? Absolutely. But a couple more classes and I may just have this whole gumbo thing down!

Step 1: Seafood Stock

You’ll need 8 – 10 cups of stock. Of course you can make your own from scratch. But one of the tips shared was how to combine fresh ingredients with a store bought stock to make it ALMOST as good as a from scratch version. (FYI: This is not what the team at LuLu’s does… Their’s is from scratch all the way.)

Stock Hack: buy the type of stock you would like to use and add celery, onion, black pepper and bay leaf. Boil together while you begin on step 2.

Step 2: Roux

IMG_1903A roux seems to be the hardest part if I’m being honest. You’ll be trying to get your roux to a dark and chocolate color. All rouxs are one part fat to 1 part flour. Begin by melting your fat (we used bacon grease). You’ll want to watch the fat as it melts and watch for it to start to glisten/shimmer. Once the fat is hot, you’ll want to SLOWLY add the flour. You’ll then watch for the color to get to the dark/chocolate shade.

Once the correct color, you’ll want to be sure the stock is REALLY hot… rolling boil… hotter than the roux. At this point, add the stock slowly to the roux.

 

Step 3: The Trinity

This is the trinity of cooking on the coast: Onion, Celery and Bell Pepper.

Add onion – cook 3 minutes
Add Celery – cook 2-3 minutes
Add Bell Pepper – cook 2 minutes

Step 4: Spices and Vegetables

IMG_1905Here’s a rundown of what all you need to add:
– Black Pepper 1-2 tsp
– Sea salt 1-2 tsp
– Cayenne pepper ½ tsp
– Bay Leaf = 4
– Thyme = a pinch
– Basil = large pinch
– Dried oregano = large pinch
– Worcestershire = ½ cup
– Perfect pepper hot sauce = however much you like
– Lemon juice = ¾ cup (half now and half at the end)
– Okra = as much as you like and a little at a time
– Tomatoes = canned and rinsed if you like

At this point, you’ll want to cover and cook for one hour. At the end of the hour, skim the oil off the top before adding protein.

Step 5: Proteins

IMG_1929You can add whatever meat or seafood you like at this point. Any combination is allowed! We added shrimp and blue crab. There’s no rule on how much! Add until you are satisfied! Always add shrimp last because it only takes 3 minutes to cook them.

Add a little green onion and parsley and your gumbo is DONE!

Good luck in your gumbo efforts! Here’s hoping it’s a fun experience!IMG_1935