Title: Gumbo Love
Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring
the Good Life
Author: Lucy Buffett
337 pages; Hardcover
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style Hachette Book
Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek
Lucy Buffett has a new cookbook:
Gumbo Love-Recipes for Gulf
Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life. Yes,
Jimmy Buffett and Lucy are related, the siblings grew up in Mobile
Alabama. Jimmy has music fame and his Margaritaville restaurants,
but Lucy Buffett has gained fame in her own right as a
restaurateur and cookbook author. You can read more in the book's
introduction and following pages of recipes, as tidbits of
information are well placed within them.
Let's get to the
Salads are popular in this region perhaps
because of the heat and humidity. My favorite recipe in Lucy's
book is… Mango, Avocado, and Arugula Salad with Sour Orange
Vinaigrette, but the Grilled Veggie Salad with Creole seasoning,
and Silver Queen Corn Salad are also terrific.
is a lost art so cookbooks with recipes for them peak my interest.
Lucy's recipes include Coastal Crab and Corn Bisque, Cuban Black
Bean Soup, Daddy’s Navy Bean Soup, Lucy’s Winter Gumbo, True
Acadian (Cajun) Gumbo and a dozen more.
Some main dishes
include; Lucy B. Goode’s Famous-for-Fifteen-Minutes Mac and
Cheese, Spicy Coffee-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin, Whole Roasted Okra
with Parmesan Crunch, Hanger Steak, ChimiLuLu, Yellowtail Snapper
with Citrus-Tarragon Dressing and Andouille Baked Grits.
Thinking about desserts, there isn't one Gulf item that comes to
mind, but many. Classic Southern Pound Cake, Bread Pudding, and
Strawberries topped with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar and many more
are in this book.
A drink…no, we're not talking chicory
coffee and beignets at Café du Monde in NOLA, but more along the lines of a
cocktail like Cucumber Margaritas, Naughty Arnold Palmers, Bama
Breezes and Bad Dogs. These are just some of the many cocktail
recipes in this book.
I have traveled to some ports of
call around the gulf from Houston, to New Orleans, Tampa and Key
West to name a few. In traveling, you have to eat too and I have
enjoyed the cooking at many a café and restaurant. I also have a
really good grasp of how to make gumbos, what the difference is
between Cajun and Creole styles of cooking, and how to make a
really good shrimp stock. Knowing the food styles and having
experienced eating many local dishes, I can say that the recipes
in this book are solid, well written and explained well. I would
say that anyone with basic cooking skills can easily master any of the recipes
Lucy has included.
I love the quality of the book, nice
feeling paper and great photographs too. I also like the fact
that new and fun recipes are included and that it isn't a rehash
of old standards. Lucy, you wrote a great
I mentioned that I have a
really good grasp of how to make a gumbo, so what better recipe to
test than Lucy's Winter Gumbo! And yes, I made the full recipe!!!
Lulu’s Winter Gumbo makes 25 Cups
This recipe uses ingredients that
are readily available in the winter time: oysters and andouille
sausage, a Gulf Coast staple for making gumbos and jambalayas.
Pronounced “ahn-doo-eee,” this is a heavily smoked pork sausage
with French origins; I like the Cajun version that is also spicy
and fragrant. It is important to get the roux as dark as you can,
resulting in toasted nutty flavor. Combined with sausage and the
seafood, the aroma and flavor is absolutely heavenly, especially
on a cold winter day. *Note to LB-make comment about how the aroma
is part of the experience.
Meat from a whole chicken that has been cooked
with skin and bones discarded, approximately 2 pounds 1 pound
of andouille sausage or any good quality smoked sausage 2 large
onions, coarsely chopped 2 green peppers, coarsely chopped 1
medium head celery, coarsely chopped including leaves ¾ cup
vegetable oil or bacon grease 1 cup all purpose flour 8 cups
chicken broth, heated 3 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons black
pepper 1 tablespoons dried thyme 4 bay leaves 1 teaspoon
dried oregano ½ t teaspoon dried sage 1 tablespoon LuLu’s
Creola Seasoning Mix or any Creole seasoning 2 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce 2 cups, finely chopped green onions ½
cup fresh parsley, washed well and finely chopped 1 quart fresh
oysters, drained 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
¼ cup LuLu’s Perfect Pepper Sauce or any “medium hot” hot sauce
(optional) File’ powder (optional)
chicken meat into large bite-size pieces. Set aside.
sausage into thin round slices about 1/8 inch thick. In a cast
iron or heavy skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until
browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper
towels. Set sausage aside to drain on paper towels.
onions and place in a bowl. Set aside.
Chop green peppers
and celery; place in another bowl. Set aside.
To make the
roux: heat the vegetable oil or bacon grease in a large heavy
stockpot (10 quart) over medium high heat. When oil is hot,
gradually add flour whisking continuously. Continue to stir roux
adjusting heat as necessary to keep from burning. This may take 25
to 35 minutes or until your arm feels like it is about to fall off
and the roux is a dark mahogany color. Be careful, if the roux
burns, you will have to start all over again!
chopped onions to roux and continue stirring with a large wooden
spoon for 2 – 3 minutes. Onions will sizzle and steam when they
hit the hot roux so caution is advised. All seasoned gumbo cooks
have roux battle scars on one or both arms.
peppers and celery, continuing to stir constantly for another 2 –
3 minutes. The mixture should resemble a pot of black beans.
Add chicken and sausage and stir well.
Add heated stock.
Add salt, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, sage, and
Creole seasoning. Stir well. Bring gumbo to a boil and continue
boiling for 5 minutes. Then reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer
uncovered for approximately 1 hour or an entire day. If gumbo gets
too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, continue to let
it simmer uncovered. Because there is pork sausage in this gumbo,
if any excess oil rises to the top, skim off as necessary.
Gumbo is always better the second day it has been cooked, although
I’ve never had a complaint when I served it the day I made it. At
this point, you can cool the gumbo. Turn off the heat and let it
sit for about 30 minutes. Then place pot, uncovered, in an empty
sink. Fill the sink with water and ice around the stock pot. Stir
every 15 minutes to move the liquid around to facilitate cooling.
Gumbo will spoil if cooled improperly. At the restaurant, we have
cooling cylinders that look like baseball bats that are frozen and
placed in the middle of five gallon buckets. I accomplish this at
home by filling an empty liter soda bottle almost to the top and
freezing it. After I have put the pot in the ice bath, I place the
frozen soda bottle in the middle of the gumbo so that it cools
from the inside out. When completely cool, I refrigerate it
If you decide to do this, heat gumbo slowly to
simmering. Otherwise, thirty minutes before serving, add green
onions and parsley to gumbo. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add
oysters and shrimp. Continue simmering for 2 minutes or until
oysters begin to curl.
For a spicy flavor, add hot sauce
now. Turn off gumbo and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes. It will
stay hot for a long time. Correct seasonings and serve over cooked
white rice with French bread and butter.
LuLu Clue: The
first thing I do is put the whole chicken in a pot. Cover it with
water and bring it to a boil. As I prep my vegetables, I add
trimmings, peels and all, to the chicken. When the meat is almost
falling off the bone, I remove the chicken and let the stock
continue to reduce. When it is time to add the heated stock, I
strain it and add to the roux. I freeze what’s leftover.
LuLu Clue: File’ powder is a flavoring and thickening agent for
gumbo made out of the ground leaves of sassafras trees, abundant
along the Gulf Coast. Okra was not available in the winter in
Louisiana, so the Cajuns, who learned from the Choctaw Indians,
used file’ powder in their gumbos. File’ is always added at the
end of cooking since it can become stringy if boiled. Since I
always make enough gumbo to feed an army, I put the file’ powder
on the table for individual seasoning.
The result---fabulous! And
goodcooking.com recommends this great and fun cookbook---It's a
must buy especially if you want to savor the flavor of the Gulf!