In two weeks is the State Championship Fiddler's Frolics and BBQ Cookoff. My family has been cooking in this competition since the beginning between my uncles and my dad, mom, sisters and now my husband and brothers-in-law and our various friends. So a few years ago, my mom had a first place win in the Jackpot Gumbo Cookoff. We've been trying to match her win ever since. So I did take a stab at it last year with my mom's supervision. She kept telling me that my roux wasn't dark enough, but I totally chickened out and made a blonde roux which made my gumbo beige and boring and bland.
This year I'm taking another stab at it. I've been reading as much as I can about roux and okra and file and all things gumbo. Here is my first attempt at roux. It could probably be a little darker, but I didn't want to take a chance at it burning and then having to start all over. I think it looks like milk chocolate which is one of the descriptions I read about.
I used a combination of bacon fat and vegetable oil. Next time I think I am just going to go with straight vegetable oil. I think I will get a cleaner and more consistent roux.
Next was the trinity...celery, onion and green bell pepper...I added it to the roux.
I cooked this together for about 10 minutes which softened the vegetables.
Then I added the stock.
I simmered this mixture together for about 30 minutes before adding my bay leaf, sausage and shrimp. Cooked this together for about 15 minutes, removed the bay leaf and added salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. I decided that I didn't want to add the okra since the roux did a great job at thickening it. I may buy a little file to sprinkle on top to make it more authentic.
And voila. With a little rice, and some scallion for garnish, the taste was awesome. I got two thumbs up from both James and Kiley. I'm going to take a sample to my neighbor who is from Louisianna for one more little taste test.