It’s holiday season, and walking through downtown New Orleans at this time is the best. Besides being stereotyped for all the crime and the common stereotype of having a stubborn mentality, New Orleans is know for their spices and uniquely tasting food.
From its gumbo, shrimp or crawfish etoufee, shrimp stew, jambalaya and even pies from scratch.
New Orleans has great chiefs but it is also the birthplace of awesome bakers. The wonderful aromas of apple pies, pecan pies, praline candy, and pumpkin pie fill your nose as you walk down the streets. Also there are small shops, bakeries and restaurants on nearly every corner.
The holidays are times to cook feasts for your family and engage in conversation about life. Children should take heed and listen to the elderly as they pass down knowledge and wisdom on cherishing your family while they’re still on this earth.
One of the oldest recipes in my family is etoufee and gumbo.
To cook etoufee you need:1/4 cup margarine, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped green onion, 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup celery (diced), 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, you can add condensed cream of chicken soup, 1 pound cleaned shrimp, salt to taste, 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce to taste and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Cooking can be very simple if you start with a two-quart microwave safe dish, combine margarine, onion, green onion, bell pepper, garlic and celery. Then, Stir in parsley, tomato paste, soup, shrimp, salt, hot pepper sauce and cayenne. It should take about 10-15 minutes to cook if preheating of the pan occurs. Finally, stir and cook for another 5 minutes until mixture thickens and serve over white rice.
With gumbo it takes much longer but is well worth the wait. Also its hard to give a recipe with a grandmother who would add a ‘pinch’ of this and just enough of that but starting with making a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
Then, place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.
And that’s how you make these delicious dinners to have a fabulous holiday!
Lacey Mayo is a senior mass communication major from New Orleans.