Gumbo help

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
My sister-in-law follows this gumbo recipe that she found on the internets, and its been made twice in my presence. Both times after an hour or so of gently simmering, there's a large layer of oil on top and the gumbo is fairly watery. Both times I salvaged it by skimming off the oil and making more roux with it and adding that back to the pot.

The last time it was made, we used a cup of oil, a cup and a half flour and 10 cups of stock.

I tried looking for other recipes here and else where, but there doesn't seem to be much difference with what we do.

what are we doing wrong?
 

J Graz

TVWBB Super Fan
The oil that comes up could be from the meat you put in the gumbo. Or it could be from the roux breaking down.
How dark is the Roux that you are making. If I remember correctly the darker the roux the less thickining power it has. When I make gumbo I usually go for a dark roux like the color of milk chocolate and I use Okra with will also provide a little thickining.

Just a few thoughts
graz
 

Dave from Denver

TVWBB Wizard
You want your gumbo roux to be as dark as possible, first of all. Then you want to sautee your mirepoix in the roux until tender, and only then add the liquids. Is this what you're doing?

Also, like J Graz just said, you will get some additional thickening from the use of either file (ground sassafrass) powder or okra. Not both.

I haven't ever experienced a break-down of the sauce. That's odd.
 

Ron G.

TVWBB Wizard
Check out the recipes at gombopages.com

They'll steer ya in the right direction.

(Recently did their Red Beans & Rice - it was OUTSTANDING!)

Good luck
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
Thanks for the help. There was a bit of okra in the mix and I do use file occasionally but didn't have any on hand.

there was about a pound of sausage in it but I doubt they could have thrown off that much fat.

I think the roux broke, but I didn't know it could do that.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Roux can certainly break. But gumbos (the Cajun versions, not the Carolina) are not thick at all, only slightly thickened by the dark roux (which, yes, lose thickening potency as they darken and in many cases should be dark) and only very sightly by the use of filé or okra. Typical chicken and sausage gumbo is watery - soupy; the rice placed on the middle of the bowl for service is what's responsible for body.

When roux break it's usually before the trinity is added. Assuming you used already cooked, smoked sausage (and with or without chicken but, if used, excess fat drained after browning), the surface fat is typical. Gumbo isn't lean and, again, it is soupy.
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
would it make sense to brown the sausage first?

I think I could remove the sausage and built the roux from the sausage fat and some oil. proceeding as normal, adding the browned sausage along with the stock.

can someone explain why there's this oft repeated ban on using okra AND file? its not like they are matter and anti-matter. Does the final gumbo turn into wall paper paste if you use both?
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I brown the sausage first but I do so separately. Doing so in the same pan that you will build the roux can pose problems. Any bits of stuck-on meat or spices from the sausage will burn during the roux process.

What sausage are you using?
 

Steve Carson

TVWBB Member
I do gumbo like Dave explains above, get the roux the color you want, then dump in the veg and cook till softened. That will cool the roux enough to keep it from continuing to darken and cook the veg.

Kevin's comments are spot on. Gumbo is not a thick product. I think when someone reads a recipe and it says the roux,okra,file will thicken the gumbo they may be expecting something like chowder. While all the above ingredients do thicken there is enough liquid in the pot that you will not end up with a finished product any thicker than say lowfat milk. The roux's main job in Gumbo is flavor.

Skimming oil off the top is routine for me.

J, I do brown the sausage first in a cast iorn pot that the gumbo will cook in. I make my roux in a separate skillet. There is such a fine line between a good dark roux and a burnt roux I don't want the already cooked little sausage bits giving me false clues about the doneness of the roux.

I have used okra and file together before with no ill effects. I don't usually use okra because I don't care for the texture of the okra but I did not notice a significant difference in thickness of the liquid.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Oh, yeah. I combine filé and okra too. Some don't think the flavors combine well. I disagree. I've seen admonitions against the combo because of 'over-thickening'. Nonsense. Neither thickens that much.

I usually make chicken and andouille gumbo. I brown the chicken in one pan, drain the fat, then brown the sausage in the same pan. This gets removed and I deglaze the pan with some stock, the product of which will be added to the gumbo pot when the chicken and stock go in. The roux gets made in the gumbo pot.

I don't find cured, smoked andouille adds all that much fat. The chicken can, but I render a bunch of it out during browning. Thus, I don't skim.
 

Edwin Vickers

TVWBB Fan
Chef John Folse, "The Evolution of Cajun and Creole Cuisine" says,
1 cup oil to 1 cup flour will thicken,
6 cups stock to a thick brown sauce consistency
8 cups stock to a thick gumbo consistency
10 cups stock to a perfect Louisiana gumbo consistency
12 cups stock to a light gumbo consistency

I make a seafood file gumbo with only okra and file. I also make a smoked chicken and Andouille gumbo using a dark coffee roux. The traditional steps are, make the roux, add the trinity, then add the stock and bring to a boil to let the gumbo thicken. Then add the ingredients last. When making the chicken and sausage gumbo, I brown my sausage in oil to first to infuse the roux with the flavor. As far as separating, I just think that will happen from time to time. Just keep skimming.
 

Edwin Vickers

TVWBB Fan
I just recieved an e-mail from Chef John Folse that says if your liquid is not hot or you add too much liquid at a time it will cause your roux to break. I hope this helps.
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I just recieved an e-mail from Chef John Folse that says if your liquid is not hot or you add too much liquid at a time it will cause your roux to break. I hope this helps. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Thanks, I got a couple of things to try now.
 

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Edwin Vickers:
I just recieved an e-mail from Chef John Folse that says if your liquid is not hot or you add too much liquid at a time it will cause your roux to break. I hope this helps. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
YES!!!! If adding a roux to hot liquid, then the roux needs to be cold. IF adding hot roux to the mix then the liquid needs to be cold. i.e. one needs to be hot and the other needs to be cold.
HTH
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">quote:
Originally posted by Edwin Vickers:
I just recieved an e-mail from Chef John Folse that says if your liquid is not hot or you add too much liquid at a time it will cause your roux to break. I hope this helps.


YES!!!! If adding a roux to hot liquid, then the roux needs to be cold. IF adding hot roux to the mix then the liquid needs to be cold. i.e. one needs to be hot and the other needs to be cold. Wink HTH </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

seems like these statements are contradictory.

if the standard order is: roux, trinity, stock. the roux will be hot, so does the stock need to be hot or cold?
 

Edwin Vickers

TVWBB Fan
Add hot liquid to you hot roux. Add a little at a time and allow the liquid to thicken. Keep adding until you get the right consistency.
 

Keri C

TVWBB Wizard
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Edwin Vickers:
I just recieved an e-mail from Chef John Folse that says if your liquid is not hot or you add too much liquid at a time it will cause your roux to break. I hope this helps. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Would that imply that Chef Folse is joining us on TVWB upon occasion, I wonder?

He has so many great recipes - I've collected up many of his cookbooks including the ECCC both in hardback and PDF form. I've made THIS VERSION a number of times for Friday nights at competitions. Yum...

Regards - Keri C in OK
 

Edwin Vickers

TVWBB Fan
I actually went to his web site and sent a question e-mail and one of his chefs responded. I have an autographed copy of ECCC. He is one of my favorites.
 

Cecil

TVWBB Fan
Hi J. I just read your post on the TVWB about Gumbo. I am a Louisiana cajun that makes gumbo all the time. The oil on the surface is normal. It is probally from the meat that you are using. (I use chicken, sausage, and andouille). I use 2 hens cut up. I season the hens and place them in a # 3 magnalite pot, the big one that takes two burners on the stove. Season the chicken with Tony,s cajun seasoning. Cover the chicken with water about 4 quatrs of water add onions bell peppers and boil for about 1 hour.While the chicken is boiling i make my roux, I use 2 cups flour to 1-1/2 cups olive oil.When the roux is a dark(about that of chocolet) I turn foo the fire and add onions and bell pepper and continue stiring. This will cool the roux and cook the veggies, Disolve the roux in the broth. When the chicken is done I let cool and remove the meat from the bones. Place chick in the broth and this is when I render my sausage and andouille. Drain the S and A after rendering and add to the broth. Add enough water to pot to bring level up to about an inch from top and bring back to a boil. After it comes to a boil turn your fire down to a simmer and let gumbo simmer covered as long as possible. I try to let my gumbo simmer all day if possible. let cool and place in fridg over night if possible. It is always better after reheating the next Day.

Serve over rice with baked sweet potatos on the side.

By the way edwin i live in the same town as Chef John Folse. Sit next to hin in church on sundays. He in one heck of a good Cajun cook.
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
made another batch last night for the superbowl (we think its why NO won). It came out better, here's what we did differently.

1)started by rendering the andouille

2)roux ratio was more like 3:4 oil to flour as opposed to 1:1. it was very dry initially but eventually puddled in the pan

3)flour to liquid was 1:6 and was added to roux hot

very little oil came to the top, and the final gumbo has a nice consistency.
 

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