Yes, this is becoming a recurring theme on The Town Tart -- unappetizing pictures of brown food.
But what if I told you that this brown color was achieved by slowly cooking a roux of butter and flour for an hour and a half until it reached a rich mahogany hue? Yeah, it's getting better isn't it? And what if I told you that floating in it, besides the holy trinity of bell peppers, onions, and celery, was an insane collection of pork products including andouille, hot Italian sausage, and cubed pork butt? Hey now, that's a whole different story, right?
I'm here to tell you, yes it is.
Now, like the Barefoot Contessa, The Town Tart may be accused of starting every recipe with a pound of butter. Eh. Guilty. But, really, when it's this good, let the butter police come knocking -- I'll shove a spoonful into their gob and watch the conversion.
A version of this recipe first appeared in the February 2000 issue of Bon Appetit, but it appeared with a typo on the roux amounts. The original recipe from Mr. B's Bistro in New Orleans calls for 1 pound of butter and three cups of flour. The reprinted recipe called for four cups of flour. For a good laugh, read the myriad of comments in Epicurious about what proportions a roux should be. Whatever -- I am no roux expert, so I won't join the fray... I'll just snicker from here.
In the end, of course I followed the source instructions for the roux, which I believe to be the correct amounts. The roux did take an hour and half, and I probably could have taken it a few shades darker, but The Mayor and American Idol were calling, so I called time at say a chocolate roux rather than a brick roux. Yeah, I wiki'd it.
The original recipe also calls for a roasted chicken. Regular readers will note that The Mayor does not eat anything with wings, so that's where the pork butt substitution comes in. I threw in the Italian sausages because I had some leftover from our Sausages and Lentils.
I have no idea what an authentic gumbo is. It is with great sadness that I must proclaim I haven't had a true gumbo outside of a meal at House of Blues. And maybe this recipe would be strung up and shot for committing some heresy and cannot be called gumbo. I dunno.
What I do know is it is pretty friggin' tasty and I have 6 quarts to get through -- so -- who's coming for dinner? And do you mind a little butter?
Gumbo Ya Ya
Adapted from Mr. B.'s Bistro in New Orleans, Louisana
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 medium onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 quarts beef stock
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
4 hot Italian sausages, cooked and sliced into chunks
3 pounds pork butt, bone-in, cubed and seared in a frying pan
In a large dutch oven (I used a 9 quart) or a stockpot, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Gradually one cup of the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add another cup of flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the remaining cup of flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until it is the color of dark mahogany, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Mine actually took 90 minutes, and I think I could have gone longer.)
Add the bell peppers and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the onions and the celery and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the stock to roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add all remaining ingredients except the hot sauce and the rice, and bring to a boil. Simmer gumbo, uncovered, 45 minutes, skimming off any fat and stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning with hot sauce. Serve over rice.