Recipe of the Week: Seafood Gumbo
Serves 6 to 8
Gumbo is always served over rice. In fact, with a salad and hot French bread, there’s no more satisfying meal. You may substitute any protein in any combination desired. For a seafood gumbo, use fish or shellfish stock. For chicken or sausage gumbo use chicken stock. To clean crabs, pull off the legs and the gills and discard, then cut the bodies into quarters.
2 quarts shrimp or fish stock
4 tomatoes, diced (or use a 16-oz can, drained)
4 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons all purpose-flour
1-1/2 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
2 cups finely chopped stemmed and seeded green pepper (about 3 peppers)
2 small cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
5 crabs, cleaned and quartered
10 ounce package frozen cut okra
½ cup finely chopped green onion
½ cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
2 pounds shrimp (40/50 count), shells peeled
Cooked rice, for serving
In a large soup pot, combine the shrimp stock and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a heavy sauce pan, make the roux. Heat the bacon drippings or vegetable oil over medium fire. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the roux reaches the color of chocolate. Be careful not to let it scorch. (This will take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes). Add the celery, onions and green peppers and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Stir in the garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Carefully add the roux to the soup pot- it tends to spit and pop when it hits the liquid-and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the crab pieces, okra, green onion and parsley and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities if necessary, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot.
After 45 minutes, stir in the pepper, cayenne and shrimp. Taste before adding salt (the salt in the stock and tomatoes may be sufficient).
Cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary before serving over fluffy cooked rice.