It’s mid-December 1985 when I spotted an announcement in the Washington Post that Dizzy Gillespie and his band was performing at Blues Alley in Georgetown, D.C. Cell phones to call Dizzy were rare back then so I relied on plan B going in person. So me, my ex and his father drove, found a great place to park, which is rare in Georgetown especially on a Saturday night back then. To make a long story painfully short, we arrived sixty minutes early, it was a rainy and chilly evening with little cover over the cobblestone alley. I knocked on the club door and asked the Maître D’ to give the note I hurriedly scrawled on the way to Dizzy. After a long glaring pause, the Maître D’ looked once more at the note and then back at me and in the next instant disappeared into the dark ambiance of club. Typically when Dizzy came to L.A. for a visit or was performing, he would always come and stay with us. He was the complete opposite of my father. Sometimes I felt my father wanted to lock him up in the attic hidden from polite society. But that was a losing battle because Dizzy was just like my grandfather and dad knew that he couldn’t compete with that kind of love. I stood behind the door underneath a small awning listening to my ex and his dad saying he ain’t coming…the door gradually opened. Where the hell are you? I stepped out into the light and Dizzy was standing in the doorway with a big ol’ bowl of Shrimp Gumbo in bare feet, You escaped! Girl, if you don’t get your tail in here right now, I am not sure who scares me more, your dad or my wife. He motioned me into the foyer turning he instructed the Maître D’ to seat my ex and his father to reserved seats in front of the band stand. It was a night to remember and if you haven’t caught on by now, I love Shrimp! here is a family fav, this is an authentic slammin’ New Orleanian recipe here are the ingredients with instructions: Welcome to my mixed ethnic world and Bon appétit!
Jazz Byte Authentic N’awlins bonnaroo recipe for a Slammin’ Bowl of Creole Shrimp Gumbo
The Original recipe makes 20 servings (P.S. you can plug into an app to the serving size you need)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bacon drippings
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
3 quarts water
6 cubes beef bouillon
1 tablespoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere’s®), or to taste
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound lump crabmeat
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
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Putting it all together:
Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.
And now for the Pièce de résistance I give you a snap shot of Dizzy the man that my father wrote inspired and amazing arrangements for. There was no one in the world like him and he treated everyone the same way, DIZZY!
Happy Holidaze my JazzFanFoodies! Peace ‘n love out! JBC 8-) & <3
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