White Cypress Beef and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

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(click on pics to enlarge)

This recipe is actually my own version using beef shoulder. I found a recipe called Lagniappe Stew that comes close. Only, the Lagniappe Stew recipe involves the use of beef brains, kidneys, heart and other assorted guts. Listen, I have eaten a lot of weird things in my time; but, I am going to need to be very hungry to eat that stuff. Grind it, make sausage out of it, but don’t tell me anything about it.

I have become a master at tenderizing cheap cuts of meat. The best tool in my arsenal for that is a slow cooker (crock-pot). It can’t get any easier. In the morning I chop a half onion and put in the floor of the crock-pot, place the beef on top, add a 1 cup of dry white wine, cover – cook all day on a low heat setting. Later when ready to prepare the dish, I add the tenderized beef and all its juices from the crock-pot.

On meat selection in general, I find it best to be prepared with a series of dishes that makes the best use of a variety of inexpensive “on-sale” cuts of meat and smaller quantities. Beef chuck shoulder is a very tasty cut of meat and chewy, but perfect for tenderizing. Typically a beef chuck shoulder roast will be sold in 2 ½ to 3 Lb. packages for maybe $11. When I get home I cut it into 3 equal parts and cut away unwanted fat and freeze it.  All the meat used in this dish cost me all of $4. I can’t buy a burrito meal at Taco Bell for less than $8. Not sure about your grocery bill, but each month I pay Walmart more than my mortgage.

As an aside, in Louisiana you will see the word Lagniappe (Pronounced: Lan-yap) used a lot in signs and advertising. It means “something given as a bonus or extra gift”.

Roux

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The roux (oil and flour) is not only the thickening agent for the stock; it is the main flavor for the entire dish. The key to a roux is patiently cook by whisking the equal parts flour and oil until it becomes dark brown on a steady medium heat; add chopped onions and sauté. After about 5 minutes, then add the celery and bell pepper. The aroma that occurs between the roux and the onions is incredible and can’t be missed in the flavor from that point forward.

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Ingredients (shown in the picture above, click on pic to enlarge):

 

Mirepoix (Vegetables)
1 small onion – chopped
½ onion chopped – for the slow cooker
1 bell pepper – seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk – peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves – cut into small coins
4 scallions (green onion) – chopped

Meat
1 Lb. of beef shoulder – trimmed of fat – precooked in slow cooker – cut into squares
1 stick of Andouille pork sausage – sliced

Seasoning, Herbs and Stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh oregano – four stalks (or a tsp. of dried)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 TBSP Worcestershire
1 cup veal stock
1 cup of dry white wine (strain and save the juices from the slow cooker)

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In a slow cooker (crock-pot) add onions, beef chuck and 1 cup of white wine.  Cook on low with the lid on for 8 hours.  (Enjoy the smell!)

Roux
4 TBSP all purpose flour
4 TBSP olive oil

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In a Dutch Oven, add the flour then the oil and whisk into a paste. Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every minute or so.

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Turn heat to medium and as the flour begins to cook whisk every few minutes or so as not to let the roux burn. You will see the flour begin to bubble.

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In a little while you will see the flour begin to turn brown. A baked bread smell will begin to emerge.

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Whisk more until the roux turns a dark oak color.  Whisk every two or three minutes.

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While the roux is hot add the onions and sauté four-five minutes making sure not to burn the roux or the onions. You will see the roux begin to brown even more.

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Then add the celery, garlic and bell pepper and cook a couple of minutes.

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Add the stock and drippings from the crock-pot 1/2 cup at a time watching the roux begin to foam.

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Then add the meat, add little more veal stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook covered for 30 minutes.

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Add the scallions, salt and pepper, thyme, fresh oregano leaves and Worcestershire. Cover and cook another 30 minutes.

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Serve over rice.

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