True Confessions

OK, I confess. So I didn't make the gumbo. My husband, David, did. But, with fall upon us, I wanted to share it with you, because I figured you want to know how to make a good gumbo. And this is a great gumbo recipe.

What I did contribute to this dish, however, is this. It was my idea to buy the organic okra at Saturday's farmers market (where I sell Cowgirl Granola) and when I saw it, I knew we had to make gumbo. And I did dice the onion, celery, green pepper and tomato. And that's about as much as I did. Oh, yea, I almost forgot. I ate two bowls of it. And I find that it just keeps getting better every day.

Buen provecho!

Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

Adapted by The Cowgirl Gourmet from Emeril Legasse's Louisiana Real and Rustic cookbook

(Print Recipe)

Serves 6-8

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Wondra flour (this is the best flour to use for cooking, frying, etc.), or a little more if needed
1 1/2 lbs. okra, diced (cut the top and the end off and then dice into 1/4 inch rounds)
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, Kosher
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups stock (chicken, shrimp or seafood stock, preferably low sodium)
2 bay leaves
1/2 smoked sausage, sliced (we get the Peterson's brand Smoked Kiolbassa because it doesn't have anything bad in it)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and veined
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Louisiana or Tabasco hot sauce
File powder

Accompaniment: brown rice

Make a roux by heating the oil in a soup pot—do not use cast iron—and slowly add the flour working it in to the oil little by little. Stir constantly for 15-20 minutes. Ideally, you want a chocolate brown color, but we made this gumbo with a caramel colored roux, aka peanut butter. When it is done, it should have an almost paste-like consistency.

Add the chopped okra and saute in the roux for 3 minutes. Add the chopped onions, celery and green pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, a 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne pepper and saute for 1 minute.

Add the stock and bay leaves and heat until it comes to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat and add the sliced sausage and 2 cups of water to create a thick soup texture. You want it thick, but not like gravy. Add the rest of the water one cup at a time to achieve the right consistency, allowing time for the broth to thicken before adding the next cup of water. The broth should be thick enough so that it coats the spoon.

Add thyme, a few shots of hot sauce and simmer for one hour over low heat. You do not want this to boil, so watch it carefully until it reaches the simmering stage. After one hour, adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more water or stock if necessary. Taste to determine if additional salt and pepper or hot sauce is needed.

Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until the shrimp are done.

Serve with a scoop of brown rice, chopped green onions  and some file powder sprinkled on top.

Note: Gumbo gets better with time, so it may be best to prepare it the day before you want to eat it. It will last several days and you can always add more shrimp, sausage or even some crab meat if you want.
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