This is more trouble than shrimp creole, and it’s not cheap
to make, but it can be prepared at home, refrigerated promptly, and
reheated to be served a day or two later; many people think the
flavor improves with time. There are as many ways to cook a fine
pot of gumbo as there are coastal cooks, and any cook worth his/her
Tabasco Sauce will solemnly swear that is the only One-True-Way to
make it. My family raves over this version, but that’s just
because they don’t want to get stuck in the kitchen
themselves, for complaining.
-Gumbo filet- (powdered sassafras leaves, a sine qua non for
-Your choice of seafood, a couple of pounds worth. A pound of fresh
shrimp, a pint or two of carefully picked-over crabmeat, and a
half-pint of oysters are my favorites.
-A couple of quarts of seafoody broth is nice- if you have peeled
the raw shrimp yourself, toss the shrimp shells in a pot of water
with celery tops, garlic, salt, and a bay leaf, and simmer
for 15 minutes or so, then strain and reserve. If you happen
to have fileted fish sometime, you can make a wonderful broth of
the bones and trimmings, etc, and freeze it to use in gumbo later.
Chicken broth will suffice, though.
-Okra, sliced crosswise. I use a two-pound bag of frozen okra to
-Onion, chopped, couple of big ones
-Celery, sliced- several cups worth
-Canned tomatoes- one big can ought to do it.
- ¼ to ½ pound of spicy sausage, sliced and
quartered, like Andouille, or diced country ham(optional, if
you’re serving non-meat-eaters.)
-a couple of cloves of minced garlic
- several cups of cooked hot rice
-browned flour to add a nice brown color and thickening.
-bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, pepper, salt, pepper flakes, other
seasonings to taste
Brown ½ cup flour in dry skillet, stirring constantly over
med-low heat until a nice golden brown. Set aside. (this can
be done well ahead of time and stored in a zippered bag.)
Chop celery, onions, garlic, green pepper, ham or
sausage (optional, but adds good flavor)
1 large-ish bag of frozen sliced okra, or 2 lbs fresh baby okra
scrubbed and sliced.
Stir vegetables in olive oil over medium heat until onion’s
translucent and okra ‘strings.’
Add sausage/ham if you’re using it, and continue to cook
until sausage is well cooked. Add additional olive oil if
necessary, then stir in the browned flour, until it thickens
to a bubbly paste. This is your 'roux,' the basis of authentic
gumbo. Add tomatoes, chopped, with liquid. Add broth, and any
liquid from seafood, such as juice from oyster container, and
simmer a while. Add gumbo filet- lots of it, several
tablespoonsful, anyway, and other spices, your choice. The soup
itself should be a nice brownish color. Season to taste- should be
a bit spicy, but don’t ruin it for your more timid guests.
You can always add it, but hard to subtract too much hot stuff.
Finally, add raw peeled shrimp, cooked picked-over crab, oysters if
you like ‘em. Simmer until shrimp are pink, oyster edges are
curled, and crabmeat is well-blended into the soup. There.
It’s done. You can cool the soup and chill or even freeze it
now, for reheating on the boat, or serve it now in bowls over a
scoop of rice. Modestly accept compliments, and offers
to take over the clean-up chores.
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