I think, perhaps, my slump has ended. It felt great to be in the kitchen, chopping my own onions with my knife, rather than opening a bag of frozen, pre-chopped onions. Don’t get me wrong, frozen seasoning is great in a pinch, but if you’re working your way out of the doldroms, there’s nothing better than that stinging eye feeling you get when chopping an onion. Woo-hoo!
So, gumbo. I’ve posted my chicken gumbo, which is actually my favorite type of gumbo, and today I offer you my version of seafood gumbo, which is the husband’s favorite. Now, like many foods of Louisiana, there are often two distinct types of gumbo – with tomatoes and without. I wish I could say definitively that a Creole gumbo always has tomatoes and a Cajun gumbo does not, but I can’t, as I’ve eaten gumbo with tomatoes at many a Cajun home and they had tomatoes, and vice versa. My mom always added tomatoes to seafood gumbo, but my New Orleans grandma did not, so I grew up eating both. Here’s my thought – it’s all in what you like. You like tomatoes, add tomatoes; if you don’t like them, leave’em out. Additionally, if you like sausage, you can certainly add it to your seafood gumbo. I never do, as I think the smokey flavor overpowers the seafood flavor, but once again, do as you like. There’s no gumbo police, just like there’s no jambalaya police.
Some points to think about…A gumbo without tomatoes needs a really dark roux as it’s base, as the roux is a major flavor component, and frankly, making a dark roux without burning it is a bit tricky. Cooking a roux requires patience, time, and attention – don’t rush, don’t stir quickly, and don’t daydream. Years ago, I failed at all three warnings, and I’ve got a scar from a 3rd degree burn on the inside of my left hand. I don’t mean to scare you, but the flour and oil reach a high temp, so be careful. If you’re afraid, you can buy premade roux in a jar; I’ve never used it, but I know many people who have, and they all give it a thumbs-up. Or, you can make your roux in the microwave.
And finally, the okra. I like okra, so its texture is not an issue for me; the husband, on the other hand, has a huge slime aversion. I cook the okra separately from the other seasoning, keeping the heat high, and stirring so it doesn’t burn, once it’s nicely caramelized, I remove it, set it aside, and add it near the end of the cooking time – no slime, and the husband is happy. So, are you ready to make gumbo?
Seafood Gumbo Printable recipe
2/3 cup oil + 1/4 cup oil, divided
2/3 cup flour
1 lb okra, sliced
2 cups onion, diced
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
1 1/2 cups green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt-free Creole or Cajun seasoning, or more to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
4 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb crabmeat, lump or claw
Shrimp stock, 8 cups
Salt & pepper, to taste
Hot cooked rice
Additional green onions, for garnish
Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet, add sliced okra, and cook on high heat until edges are brown; remove from skillet and set aside.
In a Dutch oven, combine 2/3 cup of oil and 2/3 cup of flour for roux. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until roux is very dark brown. Be careful not to burn the roux, or you will have to start fresh.
Add onions and green onions to the roux, cooking about 60 seconds, then add celery, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic.
Cook until seasoning wilts.
Add bay leaves, Creole/Cajun seasoning, and thyme; cook for 2 minutes.
Gradually pour in 8 cups of the stock, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, then add okra, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover, return to a boil, and add shrimp and crab and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup parsley and 1/4 cup green onions just before serving.
Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.
Ladle gumbo over hot cooked rice, and garnish with additional green onions, if desired.
Serve with Louisiana hot sauce, along with hot & buttered French bread.