All In The Roux
By John Havel
The inspiration for this recipe came this past summer when I wanted
to make an authentic gumbo. Among other things, I needed some fresh
okra and some good andouille sausage - both not very easy to find in
Upstate New York. In the grocery store I spotted what looked like
okra only to find out it was baby zucchini. The only andouille they
had was made from chicken, but right near it was some fresh Italian
sausage ... I started thinking.
Many of you (especially in the South) will say "This isn't gumbo".
However, gumbo is the result of the melting of cultures in Louisianan
history during the 18th century; the dish itself is based on the
French soup bouillebasse. I feel that taking liberty to substitute
certain ingredients still puts it in the gumbo realm.
But you can't make gumbo without a roux. Roux is most often made
with butter as the fat base, but when making a dark roux it's best to
use vegetable oil as it does not burn at high temperatures like
butter will. In this case we make a "peanut butter" roux which adds
a distinct nutty flavor to the dish along with being a thickening
agent. Also, using part olive oil makes it healthier.
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