February 24, 2009
New Orleans ain't so proud of me....
So the other day when I told you about the amazing fig cake, I neglected to mention the disaster that was the beginning of that meal. A little embarrassing considering we had company over (don't worry, they are good friends and are always given a fair warning that they will be used as guinea pigs). Most of my friends up here have never really had good southern cookin', so when given the chance, I like to introduce them some of my favorites. Since today most of the southern world will be spilling out huge pots of gumbo, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you my own gumbo experience, and hope that yours will go much better! :)
I should go ahead and let you know that I really have no credentials to be cooking southern food, except for the fact that I've eaten my fair share. I grew up in north Florida, which is a combo of traditional southern types but also a lot of beachy, typical Florida people. Mom is from Tampa & Dad is from the backwoods of North Carolina. So I guess that heritage makes me half qualified. I didn't really get into my "southern roots" until I spent 4 glorious years in the wonderful town of Oxford, MS. People, you just don't get more southern than Ole Miss. If you've never been down there, I suggest you pull up next year's football schedule and book a ticket. You will be happy you did.
Anyways, I've already introduced the majority of my yankee friends (my husband was actually dubbed a "super yankee" by my best friends since he is from Canada) to things like biscuits and gravy and red beans and rice, but I thought I would do something a little more intense for dinner the other night. In the spirit of Mardis Gras, I decided to make a chicken-andouille sausage gumbo.
First off, I had to take apart a whole chicken - which I have no idea how to do. Good thing the chicken was just shredded to bits in the end because it was looking a little scary by the time I was done attempting to butcher it. I boiled the chicken down, creating a really nice stock, and then things began to get a little crazy. The recipe called for cooking oil and flour until it turned a dark caramel color. Well in about half the suggested time, mine had turned totally black (see the picture!). Ooops. Everything else went fine, but this black gunk made the whole dish taste bitter and slightly oily. It also stuck to everything and made for a serious clean-up session.
It's so disappointing when something so labor intensive and promising turns out like this. But I wanted to share since experiences like this, although unpleasant, are just part of learning to cook. Guess I have to get a little more in touch with my southern roots before I try something like this again! I'm not going to post the recipe, because at this point I don't know if it was me or it that caused the debacle, but if you would like it please let me know and I would be happy to add it for you. The one good thing that did come out of this meal, aside from the wonderful company, was some great made-from-scratch cornbread that I will share with you soon!
Hope everyone gets a big slice of King Cake today served up along side of a Hurricane (and no hangover tomorrow)!