Over the holiday break, Carmen was home for a brief visit from school. We have had many a discussion on what I used to cook, and how she doesn’t know my cooking ways. Ha.
Well, I asked (and regretted) what she wanted to learn. Gumbo. Great. I know how I make it, but it isn’t truly a traditional gumbo. She didn’t care, and we went to the store.
2 cups of white onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, green, chopped
1 cup of parsley, chopped
3 small shallots, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 cups of okra (we like it)
2 cups of chopped tomato
1/2 can of tomato paste
1 16 ounce package of chicken stock (I always use stock instead of water when recipes call for water in Cajun cooking.)
1 package of Conecuh Hickory Smoked Sausage, sliced (most recipes will call for Andouille sausage, again, we don’t like it very spicy – you can always substitute.)
2 lbs of shrimp (we cheated and got the already peeled, and divined)
1 lb of lump crab
1 lb of grouper (or any large, white fish)
salt and pepper
Bay leaves (medium – 5)
Shakes of Tabasco
Shakes of Worcestershire sauce
File’ if wanted
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of oil (vegetable)
Cooked white rice
Prepare all of your ingredients, so when you begin the roux you will not have time to chop anything. You will be stirring.
First and foremost important item is the roux. The key is to make equal parts of flour and oil. Most will say to heat the pan, then add the oil. I agree. I did not follow the rules to add the flour slowly. I just added it. I also add salt and pepper. Stir until clumps are gone, and then stir over medium/high heat for about 30 minutes or a dark pecan color. Be patient. You will want to speed this up, please don’t.
Then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, shallot, cayenne pepper (I don’t add a lot, as my family doesn’t like it really spicy), and stir in with roux. You will want the onions to become translucent or clear in color. Don’t brown them.
Then add the sausage and tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add one pound of shrimp.
Cook until the tomatoes are cooked down a bit, maybe 5 to ten minutes. Then add stock, okra, Worcestershire and bay leaves. Cook for about a hour. You should be stirring about every 15 minutes or so to make sure that nothing is burning.
Then add the remaining fish, shrimp and crab. Be careful not to stir too much as the fish and crab will just melt into the gumbo. Add about half parsley, and scallions.
Serve with more parsley and scallions, file’ if you like and Tabasco. We add a bit of rice (mostly gumbo).