Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: Roux – 30 minutes, Gumbo – 1 hour and 10 minutes
Tip: I put okra in my shrimp gumbo but not in my seafood gumbo. Stock is important in all gumbo recipes, but especially seafood. I make my own with fish heads and shrimp shells, but in a pinch, I will use dried shrimp. Bags of dried shrimp are sold just about everywhere in south Louisiana and Cajuns love to snack on them as well as use them in cooking. They have a very intense flavor that adds richness to gumbo and other seafood dishes.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white flour
2 large onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 quarts seafood stock
4 bay leaves
4 gumbo crabs, cracked and quartered
3 pounds peeled Louisiana Gulf shrimp, medium to large
1 pint raw Louisiana oysters, with juice
1 pound white Louisiana crabmeat
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cooked Louisiana long grain, white rice
1 cup green onion, minced
That’s right, first you make a roux. Over medium high heat, combine the oil and flour in a black iron pot or heavy dutch oven. Begin stirring and don’t stop until you reach a peanut butter colored roux. You will smell it as it cooks, and it is a nutty aroma you seek that is perfect for a seafood gumbo. Darker roux is for heavier wild game dishes, so don’t go too far past this point.
Stop the roux from cooking by adding the onions, celery, bell pepper. Continue stirring until the vegetables turn translucent and then add the garlic. Combine all the vegetables and then add the stock along with the bay leaves and the gumbo crabs. Bring the liquid to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for one hour. Check it and give it a stir every 15 minutes and be sure to skim off any fat or foam from the surface.
The key to this gumbo is not to overcook the seafood. You can stage the base gumbo to this point and hold it there indefinitely. Actually, it gets even better the longer it sits. When you are ready to serve it up, add the shrimp, oysters and crabmeat and cook until the largest shrimp is done, or about 10 minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper along with a light hand on the Cajun spice. Don’t over season seafood gumbo. Your guests can always add their own hot sauce and gumbo file’ at the table.
Ladle the gumbo around a mound of white, long grain rice and garnish with a sprinkle of diced green onions. Ice-cold beer and hot French bread are a given.
Recipe Courtesy of George Graham, AcadianaTable.com