Friday, January 31, 2020

keto gumbo: done!

After much delay, I finally bit the bullet and worked on my keto gumbo. It's 4:38 a.m. on Friday as I begin writing this; I started the prep around 11 p.m. Thursday night. As before, making the roux was a scary experience because the flour particles were essentially burning in the oil. (At least I didn't burn myself this time.) I didn't take the roux all the way to dark chocolate because I was worried about smoke and fire alarms late at night. The roux smelled quite good despite being made with almond flour, which has almost none of the properties of regular wheat flour. I got the roux to a slightly darker-than-peanut-butter color, then started throwing in all the other ingredients. Instead of tomato paste, I took some leftover sun-dried tomatoes and puréed them, then dumped the 'maters in along with about two-thirds of a bottle of passata di pomodoro. Unlike my previous assays with gumbo, the stew smelled great the entire time. It's enough to make me wonder whether almond-flour-based gumbo isn't in fact better than regular wheat-flour-based gumbo. I'm sure some angry Cajun is out there right now, spittin' nails and callin' me a heretic for even thinking that.

The gumbo turned out great, although I may need to add a bit more Cajun seasoning to it. The stew was very oily, though, so I had to skim most of that oil off the surface. I was kicking myself for not pan-frying my discs of homemade andouille so that they'd stay firm after being dunked in the broth: the andouille went directly into the gumbo, and as each frozen disc of meat melted, it swelled and became exceedingly soft. Not that that mattered much: the sausage imparted flavor to the whole, and so did the chicken once I added that in toward the end. I fixed myself a bowl of gumbo, adding a few shrimp to my serving because I didn't want to dump in the entire kilo of shrimp: doing that would lead to tough, overcooked crustaceans.

What I really want is rice, of course; gumbo and rice are a match made in heaven. Be that as it may, here are some photos of the whole gumbo-making process.

First up: the almond-flour roux, right before I turned the burner on. I used a cup of almond flour, plus about 1.3 cups of oil:

A closeup shot of my homemade andouille, fresh out of the freezer:

Below: most of the gumbo's components. Top row, left to right: puréed sun-dried tomatoes, celery, and green bell peppers. Next row: andouille, herbs (fresh parsley and fresh celery leaves), a tiny green tub of garlic, and onions. Final row of bowls: chili peppers and okra. Bottom: the bottle of passata.

A blurry shot of the gumbo in the pot:

And finally, a clear shot of the gumbo in my bowl:

All in all, not a bad effort, and I do seriously wonder whether keto gumbo might be better than the regular kind. I might try foisting some of this gumbo onto my colleagues at work, and I'll see what they think. Our resident Cajun might disagree.