Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras!

Happy Fat Tuesday! No, that's not a comment on your weight...

I'm always looking for a reason for a celebration... so for quite a few years we have celebrated Fat Tuesday... How did we celebrate? The way we celebrate everything... with food... mostly!

King Cake? Yep, we did that for a few years... I usually used the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the tube/can... laid them, overlapping, in a ring and baked them. Then I would stick a little baby Jesus in there before I frosted it. Apparently, whomever finds baby Jesus is supposed to bring the cake to the office the next day... that didn't work out for us...

Beads? Well, after Kati and I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras over her spring break a couple of years ago... I have plenty of beads... and Kati has even more than me!
Hundreds of pairs...

Clearly, all the men loved her...
We had a blast... It was crazy... But it was milder over in the Garden District where we stayed and watched all the parades... We both really like New Orleans... it is always a fun and interesting place... and during Mardi Gras... there were so many parades... and odd/interesting people to watch!

For a few years we went to a Fat Tuesday celebration/youth group fundraiser at a church a block from us...They always had fun food... but they don't do it anymore.

What do we do now? I usually make... gumbo! Even the Angsty Teen likes gumbo. (Well, she doesn't care for shrimp... but that's my favorite... so it's all good.)

The first time I made gumbo I followed a recipe that had you cook the roux until it was dark brown... almost like chocolate... it smelled almost burned... and my house reeked of that smell for a long time.

So here's how I make my gumbo now...
1 large onion
1 pepper (red, green, or yellow)
3 ribs of celery
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
Chicken broth (maybe 4-5 14 ounce cans)

cayenne pepper
gumbo filet (a thickening spice... you can make it without this...)

Various meats:
Andouille sausage -  sliced into rounds or half rounds (I can't always find it... usually end up w/a smoked sausage ring of some kind.)
Cooked chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound of raw deveined, peeled shrimp

Lots of wine for the cook
Cooked white rice

The onion, pepper, and celery make up the gumbo Trinity. Cut them into smallish pieces.
Put the Trinity into your stock pot with the oil. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over all this and stir it in.

You should have a very thick mixture. Cook this mixture over medium low to medium heat for about fifteen minutes to soften the vegetables.

Slowly start stirring in chicken broth. Constantly scraping the thickened broth from the bottom and sides of the pot.

Keep adding broth and cooking until it isn't starting to thicken as much... maybe about four cans... maybe five... I don't follow an exact recipe.

Stop adding broth unless you have gumbo filet. If you are using the gumbo filet, add some extra broth. Then add a few teaspoons of the gumbo filet to help thicken the liquid.

Add a few shakes of cayenne pepper.

Stir in the sliced sausage, and the chicken. Let simmer for a little bit... maybe 10-15 minutes over a low heat.

Just before serving, stir in the raw shrimp that have been cleaned and rinsed. (I take the tails off because the Stern German prefers them that way... I kind of like having to pick them up eat them...)

After you stir in the raw shrimp, cook for another 2-3 minutes... just until the shrimp are pink. Turn off the heat. You don't want to overcook the shrimp or they get tough.

If you bought cooked shrimp, turn the heat off as soon as you add them. Cover the pan and let the shrimp heat through before serving.

Put the cooked white rice in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle the gumbo over it. I like to add extra cayenne pepper to mine.

This takes a little while to make... it is a great excuse to stand at the stove and drink wine while you slave away over a wonderful meal for your family...

This is my plan for supper on Fat Tuesday.

Well, it's late... I need to go round up some of my Mardi Gras beads... Hey, I think there's a bunch of them hanging on the arms of my treadmill... Treadmills are a great place to store things... Don't judge me... The treadmill really is broken.

Okay, now I just need to check the wine supply... and get ready to yell out:

Hey, mister, throw me something!


  1. I haven't have a good gumbo since I lived in Pensacola, FL. This sounds delish and not too hard to make!


  2. Holy Bologna that is a lot of beads!! One of my goals in life is to got o New Orleans for Mardi Gras one year