Thursday, October 11, 2012

I will farm for Gumbo!

If your a farmer growing Okra in Arkansas you will inevitably have unsold okra at the end of a week.  Mine is froze and stored to make vegetable gumbo.  Vegetable gumbo makes it easy to have whatever kind of gumbo you want during the week.  Just thaw it, add whatever meat or seafood you like and dinner is ready in less than an hour.

The first step is to start up this Jimmy Buffett tune to get you in the gumbo mood.

With bell peppers and okra from my farm and onions from Barnhill Orchards I start chopping.

Once roughly chopped, start the roux with equal parts vegetable oil and flour and the pot on high keeping the mix moving.

The trick with roux is to brown not burn it, so don't stop stirring.
Once browned remove the pot from the fire and add plenty of salt, pepper and whatever hot spices to taste.
Luckily for me, one of my best friends dehydrates Habanero peppers.  The Hab's add a great mix of heat and sweet.   Add the onions and peppers and soften them for 15 minutes on high flame.  Then add the most of the okra.  I don't always cut up my okra when I know it's destined for Gumbo because it cooks into nothing eventually.

Add just enough water to cover the Okra, stir and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook all night on low flame.
In the morning stir and add the remaining okra.  I cooked the whole okra overnight and added the chopped okra in the morning.  This makes the gumbo have plenty of  soup and bite sized pieces of okra at the same time.

Cover and cook for another few hours on medium flame and its done!

A gallon of this was moved to a smaller pot with a bag of catfish caught on my fishing trip with Bob a few weeks ago and the rest was bagged and put in the freezer.

Do I farm just to make Gumbo?  Well growing, cooking and storing my own food is certainly one of the reasons.

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