Thanks to Miss Piggy, restaurants and cookbook recipes, I know a wee (or is it oui?) bit of French. But a few French words like roux and filé don’t always end in a gumbo love story with moi.
I had promised to try a gumbo sauce recipe after blogging about the cookbook that features it in April .
My first mistake was probably using the recipe to jazz up shrimp and grits; gumbo sauce is supposed to be served over pork shoulder (sorry, Miss Piggy), but I needed a good, rich sauce for shrimp and grits.
After two hours shopping and prepping, I finally started cooking. The buttery roux was wonderful. That took 45 minutes. Then for another two hours I cooked and simmered a quart of finely blended peppers, onion and celery and mixed in sausage. Next came pureéd tomatoes, several quarts of chicken broth, a quart of white wine and more cooking. Then I strained the mixture to produce a giant pot of sauce. Fortunately I saved all the goodies I had strained.
Too much of a good thing ruined the gumbo sauce. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of filé. I was hesitant to add so much, but talked myself into following the recipe. The result was a strong, earthy and woodsy sauce. Too strong, too earthy.
It looked lovely over the shrimp and grits, and our guest was complimentary, but I didn’t like it. Too much filé.
So I treated it like the French down in the bayou treat puldo duck. You cook the duck with a cedar shingle, throw away the duck and eat the shingle.
I threw away most of the gumbo sauce. I took all the strained vegetables and sausage and added chopped ham, leftover shrimp and a can of rotel. I used two spoonfuls of the gumbo sauce instead of filé and – voilà — stirred up a giant pot of jambalaya.
I served it over rice and we all swooned, just like Kermit when Miss Piggy speaks French.