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This recipe was uploaded by Grrau!
Its a thing thats passed down through generations, and each family has their way of doing it.
This is a very refined version of Gumbo which has taken me my adult life of making gumbo to come to! All my peeps from New Orleans are blown away when they taste this. ( I now live in London).
It is a killer dinner party dish, and the best part is you can do it a day or 2 in advance- it will taste even better! It does takes a big part of a day of pottering in the kitchen but it is the business.
The thing about Gumbo is that it is essentially peasant food-you can make it with whatever you have- it doesnt have to be seafood- my mother who taught me to make the Gumbo liked to use chicken, spicy sausage (Andouille if you can get it) and seafood. Or any combination. She used Chicken stock and boiled up the shrimp (prawn) shells to add more flavor for the stock...
I only wish I knew how I could get my hands on some New Orleans Andouille Sausage here in the UK- Jamie?????
"First you Make a Roux"
Make a Roux with:
1 cup flour, I cup (light flavored) Olive oil, cook slowly in an iron pan, till the color of tobacco or melted milk chocolate. No darker! (If it burns start over!)
Take off the stove, stir and set aside. The color will darken a little more as it cools.
***The Roux is IMPORTANT!! You must get it the correct colour, if it burns -Toss it out!
12 whole crabs-Frozen defrosted crabs work absolutely fine -roasted in a medium heat oven for 20-30 or so minutes till golden and toasty. Their juices will have come out and the pan will be sticky, (the smell divine!!)
3 lbs large unpeeled shrimp with heads. (Louisiana Gulf Shrimp are the best if you can get them) Peel and roast their heads same as the crabs, above. Reserve shells.
Put aside peeled shrimps in fridge. Score them down their backs with a sharp knife so they will slightly "butterfly" when cooked. This is not to de-vein them, which I don't think is necessary, but I think it makes them pretty to the eye in the finished dish, and a nicer mouthful when you eat.
Now, make the Shellfish Stock. Rut Roasted Crabs and Shrimp head/shells in 2 separate pots , fill with water and boil at least 30-40 mins to make stock. Cook this as long as you wish really. The longer the better. Strain. Discard shrimp heads and shells. Save Crabs for the Gumbo, about I each guest, or whatever you like.
In a food processor, chop :
3 large Vidalia or Extra Sweet Onions
2 Red Peppers (you can use green but I prefer red- they're sweeter)
3 gloves garlic
3 scallions or green onions (spring onions)
simmer these 20 mins or so till soft in 1/4 cup Olive oil with:
5 bay Leaves
2 T. Thyme
1 T. Marjoram
1 T. Parsley (optional)
Now Transfer these to your big Gumbo Pot. (I have a giant Le Crueset cast iron enamel pot)
1 16 0z Can Chopped Tomatoes.
In a food processor, puree :
2 pks frozen defrosted okra or equivalent canned or fresh (about 10 oz.)
Add these and your seafood stock ( you want about 1-1/2 to 2 quarts- you will probably have leftover stock- freeze it for later!) to tomato mixture above, cook 30 mins or so. Add:
Roux. Add to taste large spoonfuls at a time, making sure it dissolves, you may not need all of it. It will add a richness, body and and dimension to the finished dish which makes it "GUMBO"
Simmer, stirring often, so it doesn't stick and burn, for a few hours. Don't add salt till the end as Seafood is naturally salty.
When Gumbo tastes rich and mellow, if neccessary, use a hand blender and whizz the gumbo so you dont have large chunks of okra/ veg. It should be thick and fairly smooth. Definitely no chunks of okra! You may not need to do this step if you have simmered long enough.)
Add the juice of 1 lemon.
Just before you are ready to serve Add:
The peeled shrimps
*1/2 to 1 pint shucked oysters. Drain them ahead of time ( to stain out potential shell bits) and put the oyster liqour in with the stock
** When the shrimps are just cooked, about 5 mins., add: ( IMPORTANT- I do this at the end, so the shrimps don't end up like little boiled knuckles!, but poached and juicy in the Gumbo).
1 pint Lump Crabmeat.
Season with Salt and Pepper. Serve with American Long Grain Rice, and put out the hot sauce and Worcester!. And of course warm French Bread and Butter.