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Stadium Rat
LSU Fan
Metairie
Member since Jul 2004
4943 posts

Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya

quote:

I just glanced and saw "cooked shrimp" and said no way Jose


This comment by CITWTT from the "Jambalaya" recipe thread reminded me of this subject.

Poppy Tooker, in researching Madame Begue's old cookbook, had this to say in the Times Pic:

quote:

The most treacherous part is when you add the shrimp," Tooker said. "How do you keep them from getting mushy? But...whenever she used shrimp in a recipe, she boiled them first." It was probably a food safety issue, Tooker speculates, but it completely altered their texture.

And when she added boiled shrimp to Begue's jambalaya and gumbo, following the 19th century directions, "The shrimp were not overcooked. They were perfect. The moisture in the cooking liquid of both plumped them up a little further. The color really impressed me, and seemed more vivid. They had this perfect toothsome quality.

So I began to try to puzzle through this. Why in the world? And in talking to other people about this procedure, I discovered that most everybody's grandmothers and great-grandmothers did the same thing! It's a technique that's evolved that I think deserves a revisit.

Somebody here needs to try this and report back.


andouille
Ohio State Fan
A table near a waiter.
Member since Dec 2004
7471 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
That is interesting, have not noticed that in reading old Creole cookbooks. I always buy head-on shrimp for gumbo, peal them and use the shells for stock, add the shrimp to the gumbo about 15 minutes before serving. The only downside, and it is not really a downside, is that the shrimp release a lot of liquid and thins the gumbo a bit. But the liquid the shrimp release is pretty tasty shrimp juice, so no problem.

Theorizing, and I will try it, if you boil and peal the shrimp ahead of time, you can save the water for stock, and add the shrimp last to the gumbo. If they are firmer and better color, not sure why they would be since they are being 'boiled' in the gumbo, it might work better.

Since I'm not of the 'this is the way my momma did it' school, I'll try it on the next pot.


Stadium Rat
LSU Fan
Metairie
Member since Jul 2004
4943 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
It might have something to do with the fact that they're cooked,then COOLED, then reintroduced. The cooling might tighten up the outside so that when you put them back in, no more moisture can escape. Sort of like what searing meat is supposed to do. I will try it too, but I don't get shrimp that often.


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Jimbeaux
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2003
12454 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
My guess is that the shells protect and shield the meat of the shrimp when they boil. Once boiled, the meat has locked in the moisture and flavor, and the outer layer is sealed.



Stadium Rat
LSU Fan
Metairie
Member since Jul 2004
4943 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
Here's a recipe from one of the oldest Creole cookbooks, "La Cuisine Creole" by Lafcadio Hearn. Sure enough, the shrimp are precooked.

Image: http://db.tt/cthuKMbR


LSUAfro
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2005
11609 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
Mushy shrimp in gumbo is one of my food pet peeves. You can have a great gumbo, but in the last 20 minutes you can completely f it up.


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CCT
LSU Fan
LA
Member since Dec 2006
4018 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
What's a pod of pepper?


Stadium Rat
LSU Fan
Metairie
Member since Jul 2004
4943 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
quote:

What's a pod of pepper?
Got me.

ETA: I think it's just a pepper. A pod of seeds.
This post was edited on 12/8 at 9:08 pm


LetTheValleyShake
LSU Fan
Marrero
Member since Mar 2006
1186 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
I like to sear my shrimp in liquid crab boil before I put it in the jambalaya.


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Gris Gris
LSU Fan
OTIS!NO RULES FOR SAUCES ON STEAK!!
Member since Feb 2008
29872 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
I add seafood just before serving and only to the amount of gumbo I'm using at that moment. If I make a large amount to freeze. I freeze it sans seafood and add it just before serving as usual. No mushy seafood.


Martini
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2005
30345 posts

re: Pre-cooking Shrimp for Gumbo or Jambalaya
I will sleep on this because y'all have confused me. I don't pay that much attention if you ask me. Peel and dump in.


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