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Cooking gumbo at the South Pole


The fame of the late Senator Allen J. Ellender's seafood gumbo traveled from South Louisiana to the South Pole!

Senator Allen Ellender's famous seafood gumbo, served to presidents from Truman to Nixon, also was concocted at the South Pole.
The senator from Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana had long wanted to take a trip to Antarctica, and finally, a year or so before his death, an expedition was arranged for him by the National Science Foundation.

Senator Ellender was delighted with the prospect of cooking his gumbo at the South Pole, but was somewhat taken aback to discover that the shrimp provided to him was breaded. However, the breading was soon peeled off ond the chef was ready to begin.
Starting wilh his basic sauce, which is really just a super duper roux, the senator hovered over his creation following the technique that he insisted must be followed exactly to produce perfect gumbo.
It was apparent to all why President Nixon, in 1970, had presented Senator Ellender with a scroll recognizing him as chef supreme.
Here is the Senator's recipe for Seafood Gumbo as it appeared in the Senate Congressional Record on March 10, 1967.

Basic Sauce
3 slices bacon
Small piece smoked ham  (about three ounces, diced)
1 rounded tablespoon flour
2 pounds onions, chopped fine
3 pieces celery, chopped fine
1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine
1 lemon (Use grated rind, then remove white pulpy membrane and chop rest of lemon)
3 pods garlic
A few dashes each of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste

Basic sauce
2 pounds okra
4 pounds peeled shrimp
1 pound crab meat
Parsley and onion tops
Smother the okra after cutting in small pieces (i.e., cook slowly in fat -- about 2 tablespoons, stirring often to prevent scorching or browning) in a small pot until no longer ropy. Add to basic sauce and continue to cook for not less them 20 minutes. Add shrimp and crab meat, as well as enough water to make the sauce of a soupy consistency. Cook for about 20 minutes after the mixture has started boiling. About 10 minutes before serving, add a handful of chopped onion tops and parsley. Serve over rice in soup plate.


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