A few days ago, I received notice from a fellow BBQ Brethren that I could get some of his product, Todd's Dirt and Todd's Bayou Dirt at a discount. I have wanted to try these products for a while now and decided, now is the time. It seemed that since it said Bayou Dirt on the label, I should cook something that is from the regional cuisine. Gumbo, oh glorious gumbo, this had to be the thing.
Since I wanted to use the kettle in some form, I decided that I needed to make a stock, since I would not be adding the meats to the gumbo until the last minute. This took the form of an enriched chicken/seafood stock using chicken bones, clams and shrimp shells. The clams being steamed over the stock to allow the 'clammy' flavor to drip down into the stock. The stock also received a couple of stalks of celery, half an onion and a tablespoon of Todd's Dirt. I took the chicken meat and prawn meats and coated them with a layer of the Bayou Dirt. These would be grilled on the kettle at high heat to sear and seal the meat. Here is the meat ready to hit the grill.
Once the stock was done and the chicken and prawns cooked, I was ready to start the rest of the gumbo preparation. This involved the chopping of onions, green bell peppers and celery into a regular dice. Then I took the dutch oven and fired up some oil, roughly 1/2 cup, and flour, and equal amount to the oil. Now the fun begins, Cajun Napalm time. Started cooking the roux and was determined to head to a chocolate stage, there are no photos of this, as once you get to a chocolate milk stage, it can go fast, it can go badly fast. Once the roux is done, I dump in the diced vegetables and cook them down to where they are wilted. Here is a gratuitous shot of cooked chicken and shrimp.
I added the stock to the roux, along with some andouille sausage. It is key to get the stock well flavored and the roux to a chocolate color, it isn't going to have the right flavor otherwise. I added another tablespoon of the Bayou Dirt at that time. After a few minutes (like 20 minutes) to blend the flavors a bit, I added the prawns, clams and sliced chicken. For serving, I remove one serving to a mixing bowl and mix in a little Filé to thicken. Filé is best not cooked, unlike okra, if you cook gumbo filé it will get 'ropey' and over-thicken the gumbo.
Served over plain white rice, which should traditionally have been long grain, but, I like short grained rice and that is what I had in the house. And yes, I do need to get some bowls and stop using pie plates for serving.
Overall, I found that Todd's Bayou Dirt added a nice balanced herbal note to the sauce without over-powering heat. I could easily use this seasoning for any group of people with no fear of anyone having issues with the heat, it was just subtle enough to support all of the herbal flavors and give the dish a sense of bayou flavor without being overpowering. If I was cooking for a bunch of culinary adventurists, I would hit it with some more chile powder.