How to make killer gumbo for 150 people.

This years Gumbopalooza was the best ever. We raised almost 10K! Proceeds from our fundraiser will go to purchase building supplies for re-habilitating homes in New Orleans and Haiti. This annual event is sponsored by the Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church and is a real labor of love. Every year we roast a pig and prepare the gumbo for the hungry hoard. Although I am the head chef in the well equipped kitchen, we have a whole crew of very talented dedicated foodies. First there’s our pig roasters, Art and Fred Van de Putte, and Mike Haas. Then in the kitchen, Tamara Baubie, Don and Laurie Stowell and finally my trusty sous chef, Ed Glotfelty and his wife Jolene. Ed runs the School of Culinary Arts in Oscoda, Michigan and is a wealth of culinary info and techniques. Jolene is a talented pastry chef and creator of some amazing tortes for our famous dessert auctions. We also have help with authentic ingredients from the Village Food Market. Owner Mark Garmo, and his very experienced butcher Franko smoke the andouillie sausage especially for our gumbo.

So, how do you make gumbo for 150? …the answer is very carefully with a great deal of patience and love. First of all, we start by frying up all the sausage in big old iron skillets. Then we cut the chicken breasts into three long pieces. These are sprinkled with creole spices and dusted with seasoned flour then fried in the sausage grease. “Pork fat rules!” When all the veggies are chopped, we start to make the roux. The roux is what makes a gumbo………it adds that characteristic velvety texture to the sauce. We use two parts flour to one part oil. A roux has to be cooked in iron skillets and stirred constantly for a long time until it becomes the color of chocolate. It’s called a “burnt roux” but if one roasts it just a second too long it will actually burn….and you have to start all over again. Believe me, I speak from experience. Ed and I stand next to each other at the stove both concentrating as we chat about foodie stuff and slowly stir the roux as it gradually turns to light chocolate…..” how ya doin’ , boy they’re gittin dark” …..” “should we quit now?…..let’s get’m a little darker” Then it’s OFF HEAT…and cross your fingers that the residual heat doesn’t take your roux over the edge to charville. After the roux is complete, it’s divided between two huge pots. Next the veggies are sauteed in the roux, stock is added, then finally the chicken, sausages, rice and okra. One of the last ingredients is the file powder…….which is also known as sassafras. This powered spice is essential for an authentic gumbo. Now our gumbo is almost complete, it will still need a while to simmer so all the ingredients will “get friendly with each other” before we serve it to the hoard.

Ingredients
25 Andouille sausage (cut into 1/2 ” slices)
25 Keilbasa sausage (cut into 1/2 ” slices)
6 Bratwurst (cut into 1/2 ” slices)
10 large full chicken breasts (cut into three long pieces)
25 cups celery (4 large bunches) 1/2 ” chop
25 cups vadalia onions (10) 1/2 ” chop
6 cup fresh okra (1/2 ” chop)
12 cups cooked rice
25 toes fresh garlic (minced)
1 bottle file powdew (sasafras)
9 quarts brodo (broth)
7 serrano, 7 jalapenos, 7 anahiem peppers (1/4 ” chop)
2 quarts or more water to thin
1/2 – Creole seasoning
cayenne pepper for heat
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Roux = 4 cups oil/8 cups flour

Directions
1. Brown sausage in large iron skillets
2. Sprinkle chicken pieces with creole seasoning & dust with flour
3. Fry chicken in sausage grease and extra oil
4. Clean iron skillets and make roux
5. Transfer roux to two jumbo pots, heat pots
6. Add all veggies except okra, and saute for 5-10 minutes
7. Add brodo stock, cook 5 minutes, add rice
8. Cut chicken into 1 ” chunks, add to pot with cut sausage
9. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour or so, turn off heat, let set 2 hrs
10 Before serving, raise to simmer, add okra, file powder, thin with H20
Start your own Gumbopalooza

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