The South-East Michigan Gluttony Society
Friends, Conversation, and Stupid Amounts of Food
"What characterizes true, down-home country Cajun food are fresh
ingredients, locally obtained ... and almost always cooked in one
pot. For most Cajun meals, even if it's for 50 people, you'll generally
see one big pot with the main dish and one pot of rice."
-- Charles E. Taggart
Every year, New Orleans shuts down and throws the party of parties. Anywhere else in the country, it's just another Tuesday, but in New Orleans it's Mardi Gras.
Many are unaware that Mardi Gras is a single day. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," a reference to the tradition of slaughtering a fatted calf on the Tuesday before the beginning of the 40-day Lenten fast. There is a distinction, however, between Mardi Gras and Carnival. Mardi Gras is a single day that is the climax for the Carnival season. The Carnival season begins on January 6th or Twelfth Night (Kings Night) and runs until the beginning of Lent -- the Easter season (Ash Wednesday). Depending on when Easter falls in a given year, Carnival can run as long as two months.
Mardi Gras day or Fat Tuesday is the traditional day for masking. People can be found masking beginning around the Friday before Mardi Gras day. Mardi Gras costumes are elaborate; expect to see a lot of feathers and sequins. Friends and family often mask as a group. A flock of birds or a full place-setting would surprise no one. Anything goes on Mardi Gras day. Although the obscenity laws are still on the books, it's amazing what people get away with wearing ... or not wearing.
In the French Quarter, costumes tend to be more than revealing and there are some Carnival traditions (e.g. chantng "Show me your [insert body part here]") that would land a person in jail on any other day of the year. Police tend to just keep quiet and look (or look the other way) at most of the stuff that goes on Mardi Gras day.
Although parades roll for weeks before Fat Tuesday, on the Day of Days - parades begin early in the morning with the ever popular Zulu and don't stop until the last float passes late in the night. The highlight of the parades is the toast between the King of Carnival - Rex - and the mayor of New Orleans. This is the official proclamation and beginning of Mardi Gras. During the toast, Rex gives all city workers the day off and commands everyone to have a good time.
The Carnival season is the highlight of the New Orleans social calendar. The season officially begins on Twelfth Night or "Kings Night." Many New Orleanians with artificial Christmas trees will leave them up and replace the Christmas decor with purple, gold and green ornaments. These are the official colors of Carnival. Legend has it that these colors represent - green for faith, gold for power and purple for justice. However, most people believe these colors were chosen, simply, because they look good together.
Another Carnival tradition that begins on Twelfth Night is the King Cake. A King Cake is a round cake decorated with sweet purple, gold and green frosting. In every King Cake there is a little plastic baby representing the baby Jesus. The person who is lucky enough to bite into the piece of King Cake with the plastic baby gets to buy the next King Cake for the next King Cake party.
During the Carnival season, Mardi Gras Krewes, local clubs that sponsor parades and Carnival events, hold elaborate Balls and parties where their King, Queen and other Royalty are announced for the year. On its surface, the election of Royalty may seem comical. However, being chosen is a very special honor and is taken very seriously by New Orleanians. Mardi Gras Royalty are elected because of their contributions and standing in the community. Being chosen to represent a Krewe as a King or Queen is an honor that announces to the community at large that these people have made our city a better place and we recognize their hard work and dedication.
If you don't live in New Orleans, it is impossible to understand all the planning, hard work and expense that go into Carnival. Most Krewes begin planning for Carnival a year or more in advance. People belonging to a Krewe pay dues and spend their own money to stage their parades and to buy throws. This is not an inexpensive venture. The average Mardi Gras Krewe spends hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of donated time to parade for just a few hours. Why do it? New Orleanians love their city and you just have to ride in a Mardi Gras parade to understand the thrill of throwing stuff to a hungry crowd.
Although every King and Queen deserve respect, the true King of Carnival is Rex. The identity of Rex is a secret until the day before Mardi Gras. People anxiously await the announcement of the King of Carnival. Being chosen as the King of Rex is the highest honor New Orleans can bestow. The King of Rex is chosen because of his prominent standing in the community. It's a really big deal.
The Queen of Rex is always a young debutante. It's all very aristocratic. Carnival officially ends when the King and Queen of Rex meet, at midnight on Fat Tuesday, the Queen and King of Comus. When they meet, the traditional "Whenever I Cease To Love You" theme is played and true New Orleanians eyes fill with tears from memories of Mardi Gras past and the fact that they have to wait another year to have this much fun.
Once the Royalty of Comus and Rex meet, police take to the street on horseback - followed by street sweepers - announcing that Mardi Gras is over and people should "clear the streets." By this time, most people have had enough and are ready to rest. As soon as the last parade passes, the city begins the incredible task of cleaning up. All the garbage is weighed and this is how New Orleans estimates how many people came to Mardi Gras.
How Mardi Gras started is not really clear. There are plenty of legends and stories about early Carnival. But, it's not certain which are myth and which are fact.
Legend has it that the first Mardi Gras came to be because the early Christian church adopted and reformed the Roman feast of Lupercalia, a decadent three days of celebration, in order to convert the pagans. The early Church renamed the holiday to "carnelevamen," meaning "farewell to the flesh."
The French coined the phrase Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday , and brought the holiday with them when they settled New Orleans. In fact, in 1699 the French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville landed near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Mardi Gras Day and named the plot of ground "Pointe du Mardi Gras."
Early Mardi Gras was not an organized, community event. The holiday was basically celebrated by throwing private, wild parties. After all, New Orleans was and still is a port city.
On February 24th, 1857, Mardi Gras was changed forever. This was the year that the first true Mardi Gras Krewe was formed. The club called themselves the Mystick Krewe of Comus, after the Greek god of revelry. Comus began the tradition of the elaborate Ball and Carnival parade. Over the years, many more Krewes were founded. It wasn't until the 1950's, however, that the Mardi Gras we know today came into fruition.
Probably as a result of the post-war baby boom, many more Carnival Krewes were formed in the fifties and sixties. Ask any local and they're bound to have fond memories of riding on a float with their family. Mardi Gras became a holiday for families to celebrate and spend time with each other. Today, Mardi Gras remains a time to gather with family and friends. In fact, people are expected to open their homes to friends and family if they live within walking distance of the parades.
In New Orleans, the more family oriented Carnival has moved into the suburb of Metairie. The rise in the number of Krewes and the population shift to the suburbs has created, really, two distinct Carnival traditions. Parades roll in New Orleans and in Metairie.
The parades that roll in New Orleans are either "old line" krewes like Rex or, what have come to be known as, "superkrewes." The "superkrewes" began in 1969 with the founding of Bacchus- named for thegod of wine. The city was stunned by the enormous floats designed by Blaine Kern (now a world famous designer of floats and other ornaments). In addition, this Krewe allowed anyone who paid dues to be a member. It didn't matter if you could trace your ancestry back to the buccaneers. The first King of Bacchus broke the most serious tradition. The King wasn't a community leader but Danny Kaye, a Hollywood star.
Today, Bacchus has become one of the largest and best parades in New Orleans and rolls the Sunday before Mardi Gras. Every year a different celebrity is made King and rides a special float. In 1995, Jean-Claude Van Damme rode as King. 1996 saw John Larroquette (Night Court), a New Orleans native, will ride as Royalty.
The founding of Bacchus started a new tradition. Soon after the debut of this incredible parade, other superkrewes were founded. Endymion, which rolls on the Saturday night before Mardi Gras, was established in 1974. Endymion throws a party called the "Extravaganza" and tickets to this event are cherished and hard to come by. The Extravaganza is a party held in the Superdome for some 10,000 people. Entertainment is provided by some of the top names in the business. In 1995, the 1,500 member Krewe of Endymion introduced the largest Mardi Gras float ever ! With the theme Welcome To The New Orleans Mardi Gras this float rolled with 150 maskers on board.
In 1994, Harry Connick Jr., a national celebrity and New Orleans native, began a new superkrewe called Orpheus that rolls on Lundi Gras - the Monday before Fat Tuesday. This Krewe is destined to become one of New Orleans favorites.
In Metairie, the krewes that parade are usually groups of people that started clubs for their families. The parades in Metairie have become more sophisticated and larger over the years and some of them rival the best New Orleans parade. However, most of the parades in Metairie rent their floats and you tend to see the same floats (modified a little) rolling night after night. But, if you want to keep away from the more rowdy New Orleans crowd, Metairie is a nice alternative.
In European Countries, the coming of the wisemen bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas or the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting.
All over the world people gather for festive twelfth night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings --- "A King's Cake".
The Europeans hide a bean inside their cake and the person receiving the bean must portray one of the kings. Latin American people put a small figure inside the cake representing the Christ Child. It is said that a year of good fortune awaits the lucky person who gets the figure.
Louisianians like the idea of perpetuating the celebration by having the person who received the baby continue the festivities and another party and another cake. Starting the twelfth day after Christmas, King Cake Parties continue until the first day of Lent, ending on Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras! King Cakes were originally a simple ring of dough with little decoration. The New Orleans King Cake is brightly decorated with Mardi Gras colored sugars and fruit.
Les Bon Tempes Roulez!
Fresh Corn Salad 4 small ears sweet corn 1 red bell pepper, diced (or a green one, or half a green and half a red or what ever pleases you) 1 stk. celery, finely chopped 1/4 c. finely, chopped red onion 1/3 c. dill pickles 1/2 tsp. basil 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or cider vinegar) 1/2 tsp. roasted sesame oil (or 2 Tbsp olive oil) Steam corn until it is tender. Let it cool and cut it off cob. Place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill for at least 30 min. before serving. (This stays nice and crispy for a couple of days and is good for making ahead. I tend to chop slightly bigger than they suggest. Otherwise, it's too slaw like. -- Jean) Cole Slaw 1 bag pre-shredded cole slaw Marzetti's cole slaw Dump slaw into bowl. Add dressing. Mix. Ambrosia 1 Can Pineapple chunks, drained 1 Can Mandarine orange pieces, drained Sour cream 1/2 bag mini marshmallows Dried sweetened coconut Mix together. You only need enough sour cream to bind because the marshmallows will start to relax and make it sweet. If making this for a larger group, my mom starts incorporating cans of fruit cocktail. (This gets into the realm of personal family history. Every family I've ever known does it a bit differently. This is what my mom does. -- Jean)
Seafood Gumbo 1/2 c. cooking oil 1 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. onions, chopped 1 c. celery, chopped 1 c. bell pepper, chopped 1/2 c. parsley and green onions, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 2-1/2 lbs. shrimp, 60-70 count 1/2 gal. oysters 1 lb. crabmeat 2 gal. water or 1 gal. water and 1 gal. oyster water Filé 3 c. Rice, cooked Brown flour in cooking oil to make roux. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley and green onions. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Add seafood and water and cook for 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh Filé when gumbo is cooked or when served. Serve over cooked rice. Chicken & Sausage Gumbo (From Bernard Clayton Jr's Complete Book of Soups and Stews) Chicken 1 4-lb whole chicken liberal sprinkles of salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne Roux 1 c. oil 1 c. flour Stock 1 Chicken carcass 10 c. water 1 c. each chopped onions, carrots and celery 2 bay leaves 1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper Gumbo 2 c. finely chopped green pepper 2 c. finely chopped onion 2 c. finely chopped celery 1 c. finely chopped parsley 2 garlic cloves, minced 8 c. chicken stock 1/2 t. cumin seed, roasted and crushed 1 t. fresh ground black pepper 1 t. salt (optional) 2 bay leaves 1/2 c. tomato paste 8 drops Tabasco sauce 1 pound smoked, spiced sausage PREPARATION Chicken: disjoint chicken and put aside the bony carcass, neck, wing tips and giblets for the stock. Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Leave for 30 min. Place in 350 F oven for 45 min, until golden brown and tender enough to be taken off the bones. Debone, add bones to stock pot. Stock: While chicken meat is cooking, place chicken carcass (including neck, wingtips and giblets) in a large saucepan or kettle and cover with 10 C water. Add onions, carrots, celery and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, until the bones have given up all their flavor. Roux: Heat 1C oil in a skillet. Over med-low heat, slowly stir the 1 C flour into the oil. The roux will be an off-white color and gradually change to a dark nut-brown. It must be stirred during the entire cooking period to prevent scorching or burning. Use a whisk or wooden spoon. Gumbo: When the roux is cooked, stir in the green pepper, onions, celery, parsley and garlic. Blend well. Cover and cook over low heat--barely bubbling--for 1 hour. Stir frequently. Strain the stock and discard carcass and vegetables. If any meat is clinging to the bones, pick it off and add to the reserved meat. Return the stock to the stock pot. Add the roux/vegetable mixture. Stir to blend. Add cumin, pepper, salt, bay leaves, tomato paste, and tabasco sauce. Partially cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Sausage: While the gumbo is cooking, try out the sausage slices in a skillet to remove excess fat. Lift slices out of pan and add to gumbo. Gumbo: Thirty minutes before gumbo is completely cooked, add the reserved chicken. Ladle over hot rice. Pass the File. Serve with corn bread.
Crawfish Etouffee #1 (Chuck Taggart's Mom's recipe) 2 lbs. crawfish tails 1/4 lb. butter 1 c. minced onion 1/2 c. minced bell pepper 1/2 c. minced celery 2 T. crawfish fat 2 c. cold water 1 T. corn starch 1/4 c. chopped green onion 1/4 c. chopped parsley Creole seasoning blend, to taste Salt, to taste Pinch dried thyme Pinch dried oregano 1 bay leaf Season the crawfish tails with salt, plus a little black and cayenne pepper. Heat the butter in a saute pan and saute the onion, bell pepper and celery until the translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish fat (or extra butter if you don't have any), plus 1-1/2 cups water. Add the Creole seasoning, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and crawfish tails. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Dissolve the corn starch in the remaining 1/2 cup water and add to the mixture. Add the green onions and parsley, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve over hot long grain rice. Chicken Etouffee Same as above, substituting 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the crawfish fat and two pounds of chicken breasts for the crawfish tails. Cut the chick up into small, crawfish-tail-sized pieces. Optionally, saute them in olive oil with three crushed garlic cloves prior to use. Southern Baked Beans 3 No. 2-1/2 cans pork & beans 1 large onion, chopped 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 T. mustard seeds 2 T. brown sugar 1/2 c. ketchup 1/4 c. molasses 1/2 c. water Mix all together and cook slowly in 250° oven for 4 hours. Rice 2 T. olive oil 2 c. rice (basmati, if you can get it; Uncle Ben's otherwise) 4 c. water Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add rice and stir until all grains are coated. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until water is gone (usually, about 15-20 minutes).
King Cake With Cream Cheese And Fruit Filling (Myriam Guidroz, former columnist for The Times-Picayune) Basic King Cake 1 envelope dry yeast 1/4 cup warm water 1/2 cup milk 1 cup (2 sticks) butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 egg yolks 2 whole eggs 4 cups, approximately, unbleached flour Mix the yeast with the warm water. Stir 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the flour into the yeast and set aside. By the time you have measured the other ingredients, the yeast should be beginning to bubble and show signs of life. Bring the milk to a boil and stir in the butter and the sugar. Pour into a large bowl; the mixture should be lukewarm. Beat in the egg yolks, whole eggs and the yeast. Beat in approximately 2 cups of flour, until the dough is fairly smooth, then gradually add enough additional flour to make a soft dough that you can form into a ball. Knead it, by hand or machine, until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl, turn the dough once or twice in it to grease it lightly all over, cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Pat the dough down and cover the bowl with a damp towel, plastic film over that and refrigerate until the next day. This recipe makes enough dough for two king cakes. Extra dough may be frozen, or make two king cakes and freeze one. Thaw frozen cake and reheat 10 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Filling 1/2 recipe king cake (above) 1 (16-ounce) can cherry, apple or apricot pie filling 8 ounces cream cheese 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons flour 2 egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 dried bean (to bake in the cake as per tradition) Colored sugars or confectioner's sugar and food coloring Remove dough from refrigerator and with well-floured hands, while it's firm and cold, shape it into a long sausage shape. Using a floured roller on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 30-by-9-inch rectangle as thin as pie crust. Let dough rest. If necessary, drain extra juice from pie filling. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla. Spoon an inch-wide strip of fruit filling the length of the dough, about 3 inches from one edge. Spoon the cream cheese mixture alongside the fruit, about 3 inches from the other edge. Brush both sides of dough with egg wash. Insert the bean. Fold one edge of dough over the cream cheese and fruit, then fold the other edge over. Gently place one end of the filled roll onto a greased pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Ease the rest of the roll onto the pan, joining the ends to form a circle or oval. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Brush again with egg wash and cut deep vents into the cake. Sprinkle with colored sugars if desired. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cake is well risen and golden. Cool before icing with confectioner's sugar mixed with enough water to make a spreadable paste and tinted purple, green and gold. Make one cake that serves 10 to 12 people. If using a plastic baby instead of the bean, insert it into the bottom of the cake after it is cooked. White Chocolate Bread Pudding The Palace Cafe, located on New Orleans' Canal Street in the old Werlein's Building, is the newest restaurant from the Brennan family, who also operate some of the City's finest restaurants: Commander's Palace, Mr. B's Bistro and Bacco. This dessert has become extremely popular, and has practically become The Palace Cafe's signature dessert. For the pudding: 3 c. whipping cream 10 oz. white chocolate 1 c. milk 1/2 c. sugar 2 eggs 8 egg yolks 1 loaf French bread, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces and dried in the oven 2 t. chocolate shavings for garnish Heat the cream in a double boiler and add the white chocolate; when the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. In a double boiler, heat the milk, sugar, eggs and egg yolks until warm. Blend the egg mixture into the cream and chocolate mixture. Place the bread slices in a baking pan. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the bread and let settle for a while, making sure the bread soaks up all the mixture. Top with the rest of the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. For the sauce: 8 oz. white chocolate 3 oz. heavy cream Gently melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and mix in heavy cream. Spoon over bread pudding. Serves 8.
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade 1-1/4 c. sugar 1/2 c. water 1-1/2 c. lemon juice, fresh squeezed 4-1/2 c. water Heat sugar and 1/2 cup water until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice and remaining water and chill. The Usual Array of Carbonated Beverages Pick 'em up at the store. (You knew that.)
Creole Seasoning (Joe Cahn, New Orleans School of Cooking) 4 T. salt (optional) 4 T. onion powder 4 T. garlic powder 2 T. dried oregano leaves 2 T. dried sweet basil 1 T. dried thyme leaves 1 T. black pepper 1 T. white pepper 1 T. cayenne pepper 5 T. sweet paprika Combine in food processor and pulse until well-blended, or mix thoroughly in a large bowl. The recipe doubles or triples well. Give lots of it away to your family and friends. Chef Emeril's Creole Seasoning (Chef Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's and NOLA in New Orleans) 2-1/2 T. paprika 2 T. salt 2 T. garlic powder 1 T. onion powder 1 T. black pepper 1 T. cayenne pepper 1 T. dried leaf oregano 1 T. dried leaf thyme Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Makes about 2/3 cup. Roux (From La Bonne Cuisine: Cooking New Orleans Style) "First you make a Roux" -- this phrase is repeated in almost all Creole and Cajun recipes. A Roux is a mixture of fat and flour, cooked together until the flour has turned an even, nut-brown color. It is important that the Roux be cooked in a heavy pot, slowly and evenly. If the flour is burned, it will not thicken the sauce. It will also impart an unpleasant taste. Accepted methods of making a Roux call for equal parts of flour and fat (oil, bacon grease, shortening, butter, or margarine). For an ordinary sauce (such as gumbo, daube, grillades, etc.) bacon grease or oil is used. For more delicately flavored dishes (poultry, fish, and eggs), butter or margarine is usually preferred. In a heavy sauce pan, melt the butter, or slightly heat the oil, over low heat. Stir in the flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until a rich brown Roux is formed (about 20 to 25 minutes). Roux may be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, tightly covered, for long periods of time.
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo 24 fryer hens 20 gal. water 3 gal. onions, chopped 1 gal. shallots, chopped 1/2 gal. parsley, chopped 1/2 gal. celery, chopped 1/2 gal. bell peppers, chopped 30 lbs. smoked sausage, sliced 1 c. salt, add more if needed 1/4 c. cayenne pepper 5 lbs. roux Rice, cooked Filé Potato salad, optional Fry hens until brown. In a separate pot, make the roux, 1 gallon of oil and 5 pounds of flour. In a separate saucepan, Sauté onions, shallots, parsley, celery, bell pepper, salt and cayenne pepper for 10 minutes, and add to roux. Cook down about 2 hours before adding chicken and sausage. Then cook about 2 more hours for a total of 4 hours cooking time. Serve over cooked rice with some Filé and potato salad. Cajun Cafe Gumbo Although roux, like the Cajuns, traces its ancestry to France, there is nothing much French about it in gumbo. In French cooking, a roux is used as a thickening agent -- the starch in the flour absorbs liquid. Cooked as dark as semisweet chocolate, the roux loses all of its thickening power. What remains is the elusive flavor. "That's what its purpose is," says Billy Fox, co-owner of Louisville's Cajun Cafe. 4 lbs. dark meat chicken (drumsticks or thighs or a combination) 1/2 c. vegetable oil 1 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. finely chopped green onion (1 bunch, trimmed) 1 c. finely chopped celery (2 ribs) 1 c. finely chopped onion (1 large) 1/2 lbs. andouille (Cajun sausage) or kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick 2 tsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 bay leaf 1/2 tsp. cayenne, or to taste 12-16 large shrimp (may be omitted for non-seafood version) Salt, pepper and Tabasco, to taste Place chicken in a large stock pot. Add water to cover, about 10 cups. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about an hour. Turn the heat off and let the chicken steep. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the broth with tongs or a slotted spoon. Remove and discard legs and bone. Set the meat aside and strain the stock. If you have the time, chill it to allow the fat to harden and lift it off. Otherwise, remove the fat as you can. You should have about 7 cups liquid. If not, add water. If you have more, let the broth continue to simmer as you prepare the other ingredients. (Stock may be prepared several days ahead of time.) Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large pot until smoking. Add flour, gradually at first, stirring constantly as you add it, then a little faster, until all is incorporated. Stir constantly until the flour darkens to a little lighter than the shade of semisweet chocolate; depending on your adeptness and the heat under the pan, this could be as little as 3 minutes. Quickly add the chopped green onion, celery and onion and stir 3 or 4 minutes. The vegetables will lower the temperature of the roux and prevent it from burning. Add sausage slices, seasonings and stock -- the color of the roux goes from dark chocolate to milk chocolate. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat so it can simmer. As it does, tear the chicken into small pieces and add it to the soup. Allow the soup to simmer, stirring often, for 1 hour or 2 hours or more so that the chicken falls apart and the soup concentrates. Add peeled shrimp 5 minutes before serving and simmer until pink. Serves 6. Serve in a big flat bowl with a spoonful of white rice. Per serving (not including rice): 726 calories; 46.9 g fat (10.8 g saturated fat; 58 percent calories from fat); 229 mg cholesterol; 734 mg sodium.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-- Virginia Woolf