We had a hankerin for something different for our sunday dinner this weekend. Then I had a timely conversation with a dear friend who fell in love and moved to Tennessee and now owns and runs a restaurant called Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe & Catering Company.
I did some research and decided to try and create a vegetarian Gumbo. I had no idea what I was in for. After getting excellent instructions from my friend and reading a few intense suggestions about creating the critical roux, I sorely underestimated how lost I would feel in my first roux-making adventure. It seemed to work out. Everyone loved it! I’ll do my best to recount what I did. I’m certain I broke all kinds of tradition and rules, but whatever I did it was delicious!
3/4 cup + 2 Tbls. of canola oil
1 cup all purpose white flour
1 medium yellow onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 green pepper (diced)
several celery stalks (diced)
1 small eggplant (diced)
1/2 pound mushrooms (sliced)
4 – 5 carrots (sliced)
Tofu sausage (sliced)
several cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 – 4 Tbls. Cajun Creole seasoning
2 – 3 quarts good chicken stock
salt to tastse
brown rice pilaf*
Roux the day . . . First of all, if you have never created a cajun roux, I recommend googling ‘cajun roux recipes’ and doing some reading and also doing the same search and looking at some of the images so you can see the varying colors in varying stages. Wear comfortable shoes and clear the decks because you could be standing and stirring/whisking for close to an hour!
Prepare the brown rice pilaf .
Heat 3/4 cup of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat for a few minutes then slowly added the flour whisking until it was all blended smooth. As you will have read, whatever you do, don’t stop stirring and don’t burn the flour! If it seems to be bubbling too much, just lower the heat – it may take a little longer, but it won’t burn. Once it starts getting darker and caramel colored, lower the heat and put about 1 tablespoon of the cajun creole seasoning in and blend well. Then put in about 2 cups of the chopped mirepoix/holy trinity (peppers, onions, celery). Keep the heat low and quickly blend everything cooking for a couple of minutes.
Put the roux into the other pot with the vegetables and stock – carefully! Stir well, add salt to taste, keep on medium low heat and put a lid loosely on top. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occassionally.
It was a surprising success. A bit of work, but worth it!
eat. blog. be merry!