Balancing Act Gumbo, Part I
This coming Tuesday is Mardi Gras and so this weekend, we're having some people over for Gumbo and King Cake. I love the opportunity to cook American food over here in Italy and especially food from Louisiana which is to me the best regional cuisine in the States. This blog started around Thanksgiving last year when I got to cook a Turkey dinner for some Italian friends. This gumbo experiment should be fun. I have only one problem: I have no way to get any Andouille sausage which is the key ingredient in almost all the gumbo recipes I've seen in books and online. Gabriel brought some for me from New Orleans a couple years ago and we made two classical gumbo dinners, which were easy and phenomenal, all because of the smoky Andouille. That recipe came from the Dean and DeLuca cookbook which was written by David Rosengarten. Next to the Andouille gumbo, there's a boring-looking recipe for "Green Gumbo With Chicken, Shrimp and Fresh Herbs". I by no means will experiment on my friends with a dish that looks boring from the get-go, so I'm going to do a balancing act between the great recipe (where I'm missing 1 ingredient) and the boring-looking recipe (where I have all the ingredients). I'm hoping that my "pancetta affumicatta" (smoked bacon) and a little added smoky chipotle en adobo (dried, smoked jalapenos in a tomato sauce) will replace the smokiness of the Andouille. At any rate, it should be better than the "Green Gumbo"
Here's my Balancing Act Gumbo:
The day before dinner time:
3 lbs medium shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
2 cloves garlic
1-1/2 tsps chopped chipotles en adobo
1/2 small onion
2 tsps sweet paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
Place the garlic, onion and chipotles in a small food processor and mix to a paste. Add all other ingredients and pour over peeled shrimp, mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Optional: 2 sprigs parsley, 1 carrot, 1 celery rib, 1 small onion, 1 bay leaf
3 quarts water
Simmer everything in a large stock pot for 1 hour. Strain stock and refrigerate.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you all the rest.