Throughout my book, I’ve had a great deal to say about making the roux that’s the base of our gumbo — and the other steps as well — but I’ll recap it here so that it can be useful every time you start to make our signature dish. Yes, there are other thickeners besides flour that folks use for making their roux, but to my palate, only a flour-based roux yields that traditional flavor. As for the fats in a roux, just about anything works. I love rendered duck fat, chicken fat, or lard, but canola oil works nearly as well.
I always heat the oil first and whisk the flour into the hot oil. Not only does this speed up the process; it yields that deep, dark chocolate-colored gumbo I love. I always add the onions first to the dark roux, holding back the rest of the vegetables until the onion caramelizes. Otherwise, the water in the vegetables will keep the onion from browning and releasing its sweet juices.
I like to add filé powder to the gumbo, and then pass it at the table, too. Serve the gumbo hot with Louisiana rice; serve potato salad on the side, if you like.
Adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh.
Click here to see A Big Easy Dinner Menu.
Brussels sprouts have seen a recent increase in popularity, and I’m happy to see this vegetable’s renaissance. I’ve always been a fan of them. Even when I was child, when most children would push them aside, I would devour them.
I remember my grandfather putting vinegar on them and my surprise as I tasted the combination of the bittersweet Brussels sprouts with the sharp tang of vinegar. This recipe adds more depth of flavor with a nice smoky sausage. Serve this alongside your next Sunday roast or for your next dinner party.
When we make jambalaya at Town Hall, we make it in very large portions. In other words, we start the pot with a 25-pound sack of onions. Just to caramelize those onions takes the better part of an hour, and by the time we have finished adding the other base ingredients like sausage, the cook charged with minding the pot has been stirring and scraping for more than an hour.
Restaurants necessarily work in these outsized portions, but the process, though not the size, is the same at home. So here is another instance in which you have a long-term relationship with your dish. Although you’re starting with just a couple of large onions and not a sack, the scraping and stirring step, as well as every other step, is just as important, because following those steps is the only way to get the flavor you want.
Click here to see the Town Hall Spice Mixture Recipe.
Click here to see the Celebrate Mardi Gras at Home story.
Click here to see The Ultimate 1-Pot Meal Roundup.
Smoked Sausage recipe. Ready In: 30 min. Makes 4 servings 434 per serving Ingredients: sausage, green bell pepper, pineapple chunks, peaches, scallions, spring or green onions, apricot preserves, dijon mustard
My friend Linda W. loves to host Mardi Gras potlucks at her house where we all bring wonderful food to share. Here is the flavorful dish that she serves with her Cajun Mimosas. It takes little preparation and is delicious. Add some crusty bread and a green salad dressed with my Creole Vinaigrette (154562) and you've got a great meal! (Another from my "birthday book").
We make this all the time! I got the recipe from a website quite awhile ago, I don't remember where exactly. It is so simple. You just make it in your MICROWAVE! How great is that??? By the way...we prefer the skinless sausage but by all means use what you like.