Friday, November 16, 2018

Gumbo Revisited

Chef Paul Prudhomme's chicken and sausage gumbo is one of my favorite dishes. A recent casual Sunday dinner was a truncated version very simple to produce. Meats from the Market formed a base for various vegetables that were on hand. Since green pepper is the Delicious apple of its species, I substitute poblano or whatever and gain a substantial boost in flavor. A couple of celeries were creeping up on their pull date so I processed them fast, whacking off the root ends, shucking the coarse stalks, and cross-cutting the tender inner ones. Prudhomme's note to add vegetables to the roux process in stages to gain interest from the differing degree of doneness encouraged me to cut the celery and onion with little finesse. I cooked in a wide, heavy enameled cast iron pan that is none too deep. The format allowed rapid release of excess moisture from the saute' and an easy reduction of the contents of the box of chicken stock I used.

For a major meal, I make Prudhomme's pecan sweet potato pie. This was not a major meal, but I was long on sweet potatoes. I microwaved one in a series of two and three minute bursts over the course of an hour, as I happened to cruise past the appliance. The tuber was done to a soft turn, so I simply scooped the pulp out of the skin, mashed it with a fork, and mixed it with a well-beaten egg, a couple of tablespoons of turbinado sugar, a slug of vanilla, and a large pinch of sweet baking spice.Then I turned the experiment into a shallow glass baking dish and set it in a medium oven to coast after I had pulled out the corn bread skillet. The dry pudding was delicious as a spread on commercial Swedish gingersnaps, aka pepperkaaker. A dollop of whipped cream would have been a good topping, with minced candied ginger a glorious excess for a special occasion -30-

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