ABOUT THE EPISODE
Guest Scott Landry, a chef, and star of a traveling cooking comedy show joins hosts Brady and Anna on Louisiana’s Playground to discuss Louisiana’s most popular food dish – gumbo! The trio discusses the best practices to make the soup-like dish in addition to the cultural impact gumbo has on the Louisiana people. Tune in to learn more about why gumbo is so important to Southwest Louisiana and why roux is the essential ingredient.
ABOUT THE GUEST
Chef Scott Landry is a Lake Charles native that debuted as a professional chef at the age of nineteen when he prepared a Cajun banquet for 145 fraternity brothers at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. After graduating from college, he spent the next fifteen years in the food service industry, eventually opening his own catering company. From there, he launched his nationally known Chef Landry’s Comedy Cajun Dinner Shows. He now travels around the country sharing Cajun food and comedy at fairs, festivals, conventions, corporate events, and fundraisers.
Chef Landry has served senators and congressmen, movie stars and music luminaries, royalty, and three presidents while sharing stages with such notable chefs as Paul Prudhomme, Marlin Yan, John Foles, and Chef Tell.
Seafood Palace opened its doors in 2001, taking over a location that has served fresh seafood for 50+ years. The seafood is delivered daily out of Hackberry in Cameron and is prepared using the Papania family recipes. The menu boasts a large array of fried and boiled seafood, gumbo, po'boys, and more. Stop in for lunch or dinner conveniently located between downtown Lake Charles and McNeese State, on Enterprise Blvd.
@visitlakecharles ÇA C’EST BON!😍 There’s nothing quite like that down home, authentic Cajun flavor served at Seafood Palace! Brady and Anna chat about this Lake Charles staple in the latest episode of Louisiana’s Playground! 🎙Listen here or anywhere you get your podcast: visitlakecharles.org/podcast/ Seafood Palace opened its doors in 2001, taking over a location that has served fresh seafood for 50+ years. The seafood is delivered daily out of Hackberry in Cameron and is prepared using the Papania family recipes. The menu boasts a large array of fried and boiled seafood, gumbo, po’boys, and more. Stop in for lunch or dinner conveniently located between downtown Lake Charles and McNeese State, on Enterprise Blvd. Envie (sounds like an·vi) Eats: The desire to eat. A lot. #LouisianasPlayground #EnvieEats #SeafoodPalace #seafood #cajun #cajunfood #Podcast #Gumbo #louisiana #louisianacheck #gumborecipe #gumbotiktok #lakecharles #lakecharlesla #lakecharleslouisiana #foodie #travel #roadtrip #foodies ♬ Blue Moon Special / Sam's Rooster Medley (Live) - Lost Bayou Ramblers
Scott Landry: [00:00:01] That's what I tell people all the time. If you ask 100 Cajuns how to make Gumbo, you get like 400 recipes because it can be as thick as a stew, as thin as soup and anything in between. So our language, the French, all of that all makes it unique to this area.
Brady Renard: [00:00:20] Thanks for joining us on Louisiana's Playground Podcast, your road map to all things, Lake Charles Louisiana. I'm Brady Renard.
Anna Strider: [00:00:29] And I’m Anna Strider. We're excited to be here this week for our 5th episode. Brady, can you believe we're on episode number five?
Brady Renard: [00:00:37] It's flown by and it's so exciting to continue to bring you the experiences that we offer here in Southwest Louisiana already on episode 5, 2 months of content. Super exciting. We hope that you think that we have yet another terrific show as we talk about probably my favorite topic, Gumbo. We welcome on Chef Scott Landry, who is a chef, comedian, decades of experience in the kitchen, someone that knows Louisiana and Lake Charles through and through. I think he's a perfect guest to really get the low down on the melting pot dish of Louisiana.
Anna Strider: [00:01:11] I might be biased, but I know that this is going to be a terrific episode that we have here today for you and I learned a lot. So I know that our listeners are going to learn a lot as well. As we open each episode, we're going to start with Envie Eats segment. What better of a place to start this episode than with the best of SWLA Gumbo Winner for 2021 Seafood Palace?
Brady Renard: [00:01:33] Yes, Envie Eats will take us just down the road to Seafood Palace, a place that's really been a staple in Louisiana for over 20 years. It's been a seafood restaurant on the premise for over 50. But Seafood Palace opened its doors in 2001 and it's really made a mark in what the locals love to eat, which is of course fresh gulf seafood.
Anna Strider: [00:01:54] I think that's something very specific about Seafood Palace is it truly is a local seafood store. Each day the restaurant gets in its seafood fresh from Hackberry out in Cameron Parish, they bring in the truckloads, you have your boiled crab and everything delivered and prepared on site.
Brady Renard: [00:02:13] I think it's an important distinction to for people that maybe aren't as familiar, there's a difference between a seafood restaurant and Cajun restaurants. Oftentimes Cajun restaurants will double and obviously offer seafood because of how much it is tied into our culture. But Seafood Palace is not a Cajun restaurant. They do not have Jambalaya on the menu, they do not have etouffee on the menu but they have tons and tons of fresh seafood, whether it's fried, boiled or maybe even in a gumbo.
Anna Strider: [00:02:43] They've been a staple in the community. Everyone has known that this building itself has been a restaurant that's been pumping out great seafood for over 50 years. It's one of those places that when you walk into the restaurant, it is an open-air feeling, you've got the red tablecloth. It's a great place for groups. They have smaller tables and then larger tables an entire backroom that's applicable for parties. So a really great spot to just stop in and the atmosphere is one thing. The smell when you park your car and you open the door, the smell of the fresh seafood and the boiled seafood and the seasonings just hits you and that is all because of those family recipes that they've been preparing in this restaurant for years and years, and that translates directly into their gumbo.
Brady Renard: [00:03:25] Then when you look at the menu, we mentioned they don't have heavy Cajun dishes like etouffee or maybe a jambalaya, but they do have plenty of fried seafood stuff like Po’ Boys, of course. You've got your bold crabs, they do snow crab, hush puppies, duck tenders, they've got plenty of gator options, crawfish boulettes, plenty of good seafood dishes. That's of course what we had to order.
Anna Strider: [00:03:51] When you come in and you look at that menu, those appetizers when you're talking about those fried dishes, the fried okra, the fried alligator, nobody should be ordering the same thing at the table. Everybody should be ordering a few of those different side entrees and appetizers and dishes and sharing. On this particular trip to Seafood Palace, we ordered the gumbo of course. I am huge fan of chicken and sausage gumbo. Even though I'm at Seafood Place, it is just the roux here is absolutely fantastic. It's a darker roux. It has all the right flavors for me and I in particular to their potato salad and taking a bite of that and dipping it in and filling my spoon with a little bit of rice, a little potato salad, a little bit of chicken sausage and the gumbo roux, it just all comes together beautifully.
Brady Renard: [00:04:33] Very smoky flavor from the sausage that obviously carries over into the way that they diced chicken into it a very thin roux, not a lot of vegetables to be seen. I believe they might even kind of puree their vegetables to kind of get it that very smooth, smooth roux. I meanwhile got the crab and shrimp gumbo loaded to the brim with seafood. There was so many shrimps and so much crab in it. I was very impressed with the portion size when it comes to the amount of seafood that they packed into that little bowl.
Anna Strider: [00:05:01] I was looking at it enjoying my chicken and sausage and equally is impressed. We decided to also get a seafood platter. So I got my seafood taste on that dish and that came with stuffed crab and that's a seafood stuffing that they put in the crab and then it is fried so it has a light batter all around it.
Brady Renard: [00:05:20] It's the shell of the crab that is then cleaned out. And they make the seafood stuffing and then put it within that shell. And then deep fry the shell with the stuffing there to where you kind of eat out of it with a fork. Great, great stuff.
Anna Strider: [00:05:33] Great, great stuffing. I thought so myself. They also had that same stuffing in the fried shrimp that they had. We had fried fish, fried oysters and we actually subbed out the fries that you typically get with the seafood platter with fried okra. And eating okra in this capacity is new to me. So it's definitely been a transition. But I will say that Seafood Palace is one of the only restaurants in the area that I've seen the fried okra on and be such a popular item there that you can get. Some of the other cool items that you can add on are frog legs.
Brady Renard: [00:06:07] Have you ever eaten frog legs?
Anna Strider: [00:06:08] I sure have. I have not eaten fried frog legs though, only I guess maybe grilled fried legs. Is there another way to prepare them sautéed?
Brady Renard: [00:06:16] Oftentimes, they'll kind of sauté them and they'll cook them down in kind of a garlic butter. That's a real French thing to do.
Anna Strider: [00:06:22] Yeah, so I've had that before, but you can add it onto your seafood platters and also order as an appetizer. We've been talking about all the great fried seafood that they have. But they're also very well known for their boiled seafood whether that's their boiled crab, boiled crawfish, boiled shrimp, they've got it all and it is absolutely delicious. I can speak firsthand on that that we didn't eat on this trip. I have gone multiple times over this season to order their crawfish and their boiled crab.
Brady Renard: [00:06:49] Guy behind us actually ordered some and oh man, they get that beautiful red color. You know they're kind of hot, they've got really spiciness to them, a real Cajun delicacy. I would say it is equally important to order one of our boiled seafood offerings as it is to get a bowl of gumbo while you're in the state of Louisiana. So, you should do both and you should also plan on listening to our boiled seafood episode that I guarantee you will be at some point on this podcast.
Anna Strider: [00:07:15] I can confirm that Brady is right on that. We will be doing an episode. But in the meantime, you can stop in at Seafood Palace easily. What's really great about their location is they are located on Enterprise Boulevard and that is about halfway between the I-10 Loop and Interstate 10. So, either way you're coming from either the downtown area or the McNeese State University area it is conveniently located and you can't miss it. Stop in order up the gumbo or one of the seafood options and let us know what you think.
Brady Renard: [00:07:45] From a great meal to another great guest, we welcome on Chef Scott Landry like Charles native who is familiar with Louisiana as he is in the kitchen. His professional debut began at 19 when he prepared a Cajun banquet for 145 fraternity brothers at Harding University and after he graduated college, he then spent the next 15 years in the food service industry. He has served his spicy Cajun flair to senators and congressmen, movie stars, royalty, three presidents.
Anna Strider: [00:08:14] Wow.
Brady Renard: [00:08:16] He's since now created a cooking comedy show. When he's on the stage, his accent, it flows as thick as gumbo roux and he tosses out one-liners as easily as he tosses shrimp into his cast iron cooking pot. Chef Landry's put fun into any event by providing a generous supply of humor along with some appetizing Cajun dishes and his knowledge of Louisiana cuisine is while we welcome him on the show, Chef Landry, welcome to Louisiana's Playground.
Scott Landry: [00:08:44] Thank you. It's great to be here.
Anna Strider: [00:08:46] It's hard to follow up so much comedy and excitement that you bring to the table there. But I really think your background is a perfect example of why we're bringing you on today to talk about all things gumbo, which we have quickly learned on this show is a very popular topic. So, we're going to get started with our rapid-fire questions.
Brady Renard: [00:09:04] They’re juxtaposing questions that's meant to tell the audience a little bit more about Chef Scott Landry by having to choose between a couple of Louisiana delicacies. You ready?
Scott Landry: [00:09:15] Right.
Brady Renard: [00:09:16] Alright. I go in usually really -- this one's a bit of a trial for this episode, but crawfish or gumbo?
Scott Landry: [00:09:22] Crawfish.
Anna Strider: [00:09:23] I am shocked to hear crawfish, that is what I always choose as well.
Scott Landry: [00:09:28] Well, one of my favorite dishes crawfish etouffee, and then as far as bowl crawfish, there's so many ways of cooking, it just like there's so many ways of cooking gumbo. Gumbo to me is a dish served on a rainy day or a cold day or a wintery blustery day. And crawfish, you just eat like a lot.
Brady Renard: [00:09:51] Poolside or beachside?
Scott Landry: [00:09:53] Pool.
Brady Renard: [00:09:54] Not a fan of the sand?
Scott Landry: [00:09:55] Not really the sand. I'm a big-time scuba diver so I like the ocean and diving and that sort of stuff. I think you're more comfortable around the house because you can get in the air condition or you can be in the screened-in pool area. No mosquitoes, no sunburn. No, that sort of thing.
Brady Renard: [00:10:11] Concert or comedy show?
Scott Landry: [00:10:13] Comedy show. Everybody loves to laugh.
Brady Renard: [00:10:16] I agree. I'm the only person so far that we've talked to that has also chosen comedy show.
Scott Landry: [00:10:21] Also I'm looking for new material to steal.
Anna Strider: [00:10:26] You're just repurposing materials. Make it a little bit funnier when you do it.
Scott Landry: [00:10:30] Yeah, that's it.
Brady Renard: [00:10:31] For sure. Well, look, we welcomed you on the show because of obviously your culinary background and everything that you can bring to our history and cultural impact as we’ll dive into it in terms of gumbo and what it means to Louisiana. In fact, just saying that word gets Louisianans rilled up, right?
Scott Landry: [00:10:53] Oh, it definitely does. And it's some of the first words people ask you about because I perform about 80 or 90 days a year showing people how to make gumbo etouffee, jambalaya, that sort of stuff. Oh, you're making gumbo? It could be jambalaya, it could be etouffee, but it's gumbo to them. They've heard the song, you know Jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo and it's just part of it.
Anna Strider: [00:11:15] Yes, I know when I moved down here and I had gumbo for the first time, I would always get it confused with what jambalaya was and what was the difference in them. So it took me a little while to get that down.
Brady Renard: [00:11:25] Well look, we're going to get through the intricacies of the gumbo, how to make it may be some differences. But before we get there, let's kind of start with gumbo from the beginning. There's no timeline that you can say, oh, this restaurant invented it, but that's what I think makes gumbo so special is that so many hands of our ancestors were in the pot, so to speak, creating it.
Scott Landry: [00:11:48] Well, that's what I tell people all the time. If you ask 100 Cajuns how to make gumbo, you get like 400 recipes because it can be as thick as stew or as thin as soup and anything in between. So, our language, the French that all of that all makes it unique to this area.
Brady Renard: [00:12:07] What I love about it is how it ties together Louisiana culture nearly every ingredient comes from a different culture to begin with whether its African roots with the okra. Obviously, the French bring some typically some of the meats that you use. The sassafras, the file from the Native American culture, a lot of there. So many different hands you can see like that might come from the Caribbean, that's from the Spanish, that's from the French and that's what I think makes gumbo so special and also so uniquely Louisiana.
Scott Landry: [00:12:40] Well the fact that Louisiana back in the day was secluded, you couldn't really get through the Atchafalaya Basin, it was New Orleans, Atchafalaya Basin and then Southwest Louisiana. The ship sailed into New Orleans to go west to go north to go wherever and whatever they brought in Louisiana people said, “That's good, that's bad. I like that. I don't like that. Let's go.” Then if you're talking Cajun, they were poor. So a lot of the dishes that are truly Cajun or one-pot dishes, your jambalayas, your gumbos, your etouffees, your -- that sort of thing.
Brady Renard: [00:13:20] Which I think is something to that you know on and on when kind of preparing for this episode we've talked about is a lot of what these Cajun dishes are because you had mentioned they were not well off is you make do with what you got. So much of that is what the gumbo is. That's why in the spring and summer is when you would typically get different gumbos than what you were making in the winter.
Scott Landry: [00:13:43] Like my grandfather lived through the depression and I said, was it hard? He goes, “No, not too bad.” And what he was trying to say was he didn't have money when it wasn't the depression, but we hunted and we fished and we crabbed and we did all of that. Everybody ate good, and everybody worked. They didn't have a lot of cash money, but they never wanted for anything.
Brady Renard: [00:14:04] I think that's amazing to how gumbo spread throughout the state where each region makes it a little different, but it's all got the same heart.
Scott Landry: [00:14:13] That's true and I mean the thickness or whatever. Also when you look at New Orleans, their style of gumbo is different than the southwest part of the state's gumbo.
Anna Strider: [00:14:22] That brings me to a good question. As we're talking about a little bit of the differences between the New Orleans area and Southwest Louisiana. Just in my short time of living here, I've noticed a difference in the roux and how it's prepared, the seasoning, it's got much more of a kick over here in my opinion. It's a little bit more savory on that side of the state.
Scott Landry: [00:14:44] Well, New Orleans uses a lot of creams and sauces and tomatoes and that sort of stuff in their cooking there more French-oriented because the French owned New Orleans for so long. On this side of the state, some of our meats might have been a little questionable. So the salt and the red peppers and the garlic and all that enhance the flavoring of it and it was also handy to make, I mean we could grow stuff most of the year.
Brady Renard: [00:15:11] When looking at the gumbo, I think the most important part is the roux, but that also matters. In what you're cooking, you're going to get a different roux typically with a seafood gumbo than maybe what you would make with the chicken sausage. Sometimes when you go a little darker, maybe you go a little lighter just depending on kind of what you've got. How important is the roux in your opinion?
Scott Landry: [00:15:33] Well, the roux is the gumbo. Let's say you're taking a chicken and sausage gumbo. Your roux is a dark roux or a medium dark roux, depending on which roux you settle on, then your meat is giving the flavor to that room. Each person makes his own. But nowadays you can buy roux the stores. It's a major difference in the taste of gumbo when you make your own versus buy one.
Anna Strider: [00:16:00] Well I know preparing for this episode, I was doing some homework and just watching a few different videos and reading various recipes and just the heat, how much you put in, how long you cooked it and the one thing that was consistent was the angle at which you stirred.
Scott Landry: [00:16:16] Well, the thing that's really funny is if you make a roux, a traditional roux’s made with oil and flour. If you make a buttered roux, you can't get it to the darkness of an oil flour roux, you'll burn it. So most gumbos are made with oil and flour in a roux. But the original gumbos, so say were thickened with okra, which is going to give it a thickness or sassafras file, which is ground sassafras roots because they didn't have the okra and the sassafras gave it the thickness of it. But like, a good Cajun would never be caught dead with tomatoes in its gumbo when you can't hardly buy a gumbo in New Orleans without tomatoes in it.
Brady Renard: [00:17:06] That's one thing that, it depends on where you go, if you ask, hey, do tomatoes belong in gumbo? It's kind of like the pineapple on pizza argument you see on the internet nowadays and you're going to get a lot of people that say, no tomatoes don't belong in gumbo. But to me it's always about the heart and soul of the dish because it seems silly that we connect so much of our culture to a food dish but when that dish brings people together and creates some memories, I remember as a kid getting gumbo and then I feed my kid gumbo now, it's a connective tissue in Cajun culture. So to me, it's always about the heart more so sometimes in the ingredients.
Scott Landry: [00:17:49] It's also the only place in the world you can get it at a restaurant regularly. Then also in gumbo, how much rice do you put in it?
Anna Strider: [00:17:57] I like just a little bit when I'm putting the rice in. I want to still have a soup texture to it and not all rice.
Brady Renard: [00:18:03] But you're a potato salader.
Anna Strider: [00:18:06] I am a potato salader. So, I do like to have a little bit of potato salad, a little bit of rice and a lot of gumbo all in one spoon so it's hard to do.
Brady Renard: [00:18:15] You’re a Lake Charles native, where do you fall on the potato salad in the gumbo?
Scott Landry: [00:18:18] I don't argue it with my gumbo. I like my gumbo and a bowl with my rice and I eat it. However, I do agree with potato salad with gumbo because I'm also not to put a boiled egg in your gumbo guy, but there are a lot of people that does it. A lot of that streams from the fact that 12 people came that you weren't expecting so you threw in a dozen eggs.
Anna Strider: [00:18:39] I've never heard of anyone putting a boiled egg in gumbo.
Brady Renard: [00:18:44] No, it's common.
Scott Landry: [00:18:44] It’s common. And it's also, you know like I tell people if you have some people come by to eat that you didn't expect to eat, just add a little water and the longer you cook it, the thicker it becomes. Also, the more flavor-rich that becomes and like in my shows, I tell them, I said if you want a good gumbo, this is how you make it. Now, if you want a great gumbo, you put it in the refrigerator and then eat it tomorrow and you're going, “Come on chef. It's the same gumbo.” There's some kind of metamorphosis that occurs. Also, some of the oil will coagulate on the top, you can scrape that off and you're getting a more flavorful gumbo and the metamorphosis of the blending of the spices from below 45 to above 212, that makes a big difference in that gumbo.
Brady Renard: [00:19:32] I've made enough gumbos at this point. I don't even like it on day one anymore. It's one of the rare foods on the planet that's better the next day.
Scott Landry: [00:19:39] You're going to have leftovers.
Brady Renard: [00:19:41] You will have leftovers. Hopefully, you buy the right pots, right? I see sometimes when people make it and they make it in a tiny pot. You can't make gumbo in a tiny pot.
Anna Strider: [00:19:48] I'm gonna have to invest in my pots before I get started with my gumbo here.
Scott Landry: [00:19:52] Well the thicker the pot, the better it is. Some of them think the bottom has to be thick and the sides can be thin, the whole pot should be thick. A lot of them use cast iron pots because if it's treated correctly, they hold the heat, they're thick, they won't scorch. Roux’s one with a few things you can put in a pot of boiling water that'll go straight to the bottom and scorch.
Brady Renard: [00:20:15] My first gumbo, I burnt the roux at the bottom of the pot.
Anna Strider: [00:20:19] You weren’t stirring enough?
Brady Renard: [00:20:21] I thought I had got it all mixed in.
Scott Landry: [00:20:22] Especially if you're using a jar roux or a bucket roux, like in the restaurants, see some people, like when I make my roux, if I'm using sausage I like to sauté my sausage then I add my vegetables and I cook that down. Then I add my chicken stock or seafood stock. Then I put my roux in. Then I cook that down. Then I add my chicken or if I'm doing a seafood gumbo, I get everything put together, then I add my seafood because I don't really want it overcooked because your shrimp will be harder than you normally would eat it if it was fried or baked or whatever. So you have to be careful there. But that's how I do my gumbo.
Brady Renard: [00:21:02] You can't really overcook a gumbo too much. Outside of your different steps that you can overcook your roux and as you mentioned, you can overcook your seafood but almost everything else, the longer that it cooks, the more flavor that it's going to continue to have.
Scott Landry: [00:21:16] Right, in the old days in the ‘50s, ‘40s, they took an old hen or an old rooster that was no longer any good for anything and that's what they made their gumbo with because they would just make it a holy gumbo, they boil the hell out of it until the meat fell off the chicken and then it was tender and that's how they made it. So, a lot of times now if you're buying chicken meat parts and you cut it up and put it in there, the more you cook it, the more the chicken breaks down. So all the flavorings going in there. But you may have some chicken that you're like, what is this? And you go, it's chicken. Parts is parts.
Anna Strider: [00:21:57] You mentioned the holiness of the chicken that they would put into the pot and talked a little bit about the vegetables, I've heard a lot of people talk about the holy trinity and how important that is when you're making the gumbo. What is the holy trinity?
Scott Landry: [00:22:12] Well, trinity is celery, bell peppers and onions and there's some differences in opinion between a white onion and a yellow onion. I don't believe that in a true gumbo, you should have yellow bell peppers and red bell peppers. My brother swears by them. Now, my brother will make a seafood gumbo and those sweet bell peppers will add to the taste of that gumbo. So is it wrong? Right? I don't know. I don't put okra in my gumbo. I eat fried okra, but I don't eat boiled okra. And some people say, well you just didn't cook it right. I said, well it's a little slimy to me. A lot of them, they would fry their okra down a little bit before they put it in the gumbo to do away with some of that stringiness. Some of the people would brown their chicken in the cast iron pot and then put it in the gumbo pot.
My grandmother used to take the whole hen or rooster or whatever, cut it up into parts is parts and throw it in the pot and then she would regulate the number of hours that it took for that meat to fall off that bone as to when it was done.
Brady Renard: [00:23:21] That's what I think is funny, mentioning the okra is it the slime that is used as the thickening agent, correct?
Scott Landry: [00:23:28] Right. The creoles, that's what they used to thicken it. But the Cajun people used the roux. The New Orleans people will use either okra or file to tighten it. I mean that's three recipes right there on how to thicken the gumbo.
Brady Renard: [00:23:43] Now, if you were going to say the core ingredients, we're going to list the core ingredients, you think of a gumbo. Roux?
Scott Landry: [00:23:50] Yep.
Brady Renard: [00:23:51] What of the holy trinity? All three? Do you think all three are key ingredients?
Scott Landry: [00:23:55] Yep.
Brady Renard: [00:23:57] Okay, tomatoes?
Scott Landry: [00:23:58] No, I don't put tomatoes in it. Here's something else. When I was little, it was shrimp gumbo or shrimp and crab gumbo or was chicken and sausage. You never put sausage with your shrimp because the sausage would overpower the seafood taste and it wasn't Hillshire Farm sausage, it was rabideaux or savoie's. Usually, it was made, and it was probably venison and pork most of the time.
Anna Strider: [00:24:26] I think from an outsider's opinion, the real piece of the puzzle and circling back around to our culture is that the only thing that you can do wrong when preparing gumbo ultimately that no one will disagree with is not sharing it.
Scott Landry: [00:24:40] Or making enough.
Anna Strider: [00:24:41] We’re making enough but not having people over and just sharing that experience, people in the kitchen and really making it something that's a family and friends event and that's what makes gumbo so special and brings it back to our culture.
Scott Landry: [00:24:56] Well our culture is party. It's not drunks, it's not Mardi gras, it's family and parties. You may hate the neighbor next door, but if you're having a party, he's invited. You may hate Uncle Billy Bob most of the time, but he's family, he's at every event. I agree with you I think if you're not sharing your gumbo, you're wasting a chance. Most people make a big old bowl of roux because it takes so long to make and then they freeze it or they share it with everybody in the neighborhood and everybody in the neighborhood knows when you're making a roux, they can smell it. They walk by your house, they're smelling the roux.
Anna Strider: [00:25:36] They’re knocking on your door, when's it going to be ready?
Scott Landry: [00:25:38] Yeah, exactly. But see you asked about potato salad and gumbo. What about French bread, garlic bread? Does that go with gumbo?
Brady Renard: [00:25:46] You talk about the Cajuns. You know what we would serve on the side of? We'd get hot dog buns with our leftover hot dog buns. We’d put garlic on it and put in the oven and that's what we served.
Scott Landry: [00:25:54] Garlic bread. Yeah.
Brady Renard: [00:25:55] Our garlic bread from hot dog buns especially.
Anna Strider: [00:25:59] I've seen more saltine crackers here versus in the New Orleans area, there was more that slice of French bread that's served over there versus over here I've seen less of it.
Brady Renard: [00:26:09] Let's run through because I don't think we've done this yet. Making the gumbo. Obviously the roux, we talk about that, the oil, the flour, it's a process. It's a labor of love getting it to the color that you wanted typically at least a caramel brown.
Scott Landry: [00:26:23] Oh yeah, at least that dark. If not more fudge brown is what I tell people. The start of a roux always starts with hot oil, not lukewarm oil, hot oil. I tell people it's got to be at least 220 degrees. They're like, how do you know? Well water boils at 212. Wash your hands instead of drying them, flick the water in the oil. Then when it gets hot he goes snap crackle, pop. When it comes up to the right temperature, it's quiet. All your water’s popped out. You start your roux, and you stir, and you stir and you stir and when you get tired of stirring, stir some more.
Brady Renard: [00:27:06] You're not done yet. And I think it's important to the type of oil matters too because of flashpoints with how hot you get in the roux.
Scott Landry: [00:27:13] Well, yeah, I mean I use a pure vegetable oil. Then the other thing you got to remember is when you turn that roux off, it's not done until you've cooled it down because it's still cooking. Because we talked about your starting at 240 you're going to cook it for an hour at least. Now you're at 350, 400 degrees. There's your temperature. If you just turn the fire off, it's going to burn. You got to continue to stir it.
Brady Renard: [00:27:42] Here is the spot that I think most gumbos take an immediate detour and what's the next step for you though, you said that's when you add your vegetables in at this point after getting your roux at the color you like.
Scott Landry: [00:27:53] Actually, no.
Brady Renard: [00:27:53] Okay.
Scott Landry: [00:27:54] actually I put my roux aside after it's done. When I make a gumbo, I start with if it's sausage and chicken –
Brady Renard: [00:28:02] Let's say a chicken sausage, that's a kind of a very common throughout the entire state.
Scott Landry: [00:28:06] I start with my diced sausage and I brown it, as it started to get cooked, I add my trinity, the celery, bell peppers and onions, and I cook all of that down together. Then I add my water and bring that to a boil with my red pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic, whatever you're going to put in it. At that point when it's boiling really well, I add my roux or I add my chicken and then my roux. Usually, the roux is the last thing I add. Then I cook it and taste it and cook it and taste it and cook it and taste it because you can have too much roux.
Brady Renard: [00:28:47] For sure. I mean, you can and then you and then ultimately the only solution at that point is that you got to keep cooking it down to get that roux out of there.
Scott Landry: [00:28:55] Or a bigger pot yeah, and more water.
Brady Renard: [00:28:57] So then that's when the time game comes into where you just got to let that steam cook-off of it and then –
Scott Landry: [00:29:03] And then let's say you made a gumbo at noon and you finish with it to 2:30-3:00. You can let that simmer till 9 o'clock that night when your party ends.
Brady Renard: [00:29:15] We mentioned it earlier and I think that's the whole basis of this episode is how strange it must be for other parts of the country to see a culture so connected to a particular food dish like we are with gumbo. But the more research you do and the more you kind of think about it, you realize how much it is in the connective tissue of Louisiana because as we mentioned, every culture had a hand in making gumbo what it is today.
Scott Landry: [00:29:46] Uh-huh.
Anna Strider: [00:29:47] And while I think we're so connected, what's also interesting is how much we're divided over this piece that connects us so much and that we have so many different opinions and how we do it and it brings so many memories to people. So it's something that is just so rooted that it's hard to understand if you're not here enjoying it and have those personal experiences.
Brady Renard: [00:30:09] Yeah. To me it's like I can make fun of my brother all you want but don't you say anything about it. That's what that's what gumbo is to me, to Louisiana.
Scott Landry: [00:30:19] That's our dishes. All our dishes are like that. The gumbo, the etouffees, the jambalayas.
Anna Strider: [00:30:23] I mean my family always says if they were down here, they'd be 30 pounds heavier. They're like, “Anna, we don't know how you do it. We see all the food that you post while you're there and just indulge in.” It's something that's uniquely Louisiana and it's very special and not only for the country but for the rest of the world. What Louisiana has here in our culinary scene is something that just cannot be beat.
Brady Renard: [00:30:46] As we conclude our gumbo conversation, I think the two lessons that I think we can all agree on and I think all Louisianan's agree on, right, is number one, if you make a gumbo, you got to share it. Number two, don't get gumbo outside of Louisiana.
Scott Landry: [00:31:04] Oh absolutely, absolutely.
Brady Renard: [00:31:08] And thanks again to Chef Scott Landry for joining us here on the show and thank you for taking time out of your day to join us here on the podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a rating or a review wherever you get your podcast.
Anna Strider: [00:31:23] It will help us grow our audience and further share the unique stories that Southwest Louisiana has to offer. You can go to visitlakecharles.org/podcast to listen to more of our episodes. Find out events happening this weekend and where you can get gumbo while you're in town. I'm Anna Strider.
Brady Renard: [00:31:39] And I'm Brady Renard. Thanks again for coming to play at Louisiana's Playground. Stay tuned.
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