The Hubby, who as you may know is a HUGE fan of Sauce (not to be confused with The Sauce, but just Sauce in general) is also a lover of gumbo. I think it’s his only happy memory from the 2 or so years he lived just west of New Orleans. Poor thing. I, on the other hand, can usually take gumbo or leave it.
But because I love the Hubby so, so, so, so much, I decided to spend my once-a-month cooking class at Central Market learning to make four different kinds of gumbo–veggie gumbo, shrimp gumbo casserole (a la Paula Deen), chicken & sausage gumbo and seafood gumbo. A couple of these were pretty good, but two were awesome. So awesome in fact that I decided to make up a pot in honor of Mardi Gras. (Well, that’s not exactly true…it was mainly in honor of my intense craving for it and Mardi Gras happened to fall at just the right time.)
And ya’ll, this stuff is so darn good you’ll be hearing Hank sing, “Jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo!…Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou!” and having visions of Bobby Boucher’s mama declaring “that girl is the Debil!!” as soon as it’s delicious scent hits your nose. And if you don’t well then obviously something is seriously wrong with your sniffer and you should really consider getting it checked out.
I wish, I wish, I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, but it is another masterpiece from Central Market’s Cindy Haenel. This woman is awesome and a funny teacher too. Check her out if you’re ever in the ATX.
Oh and, by the way, this dish is pretty darn light and good for you! Hence the “not-so-fat…”
1 1/2 gallons of seafood stock
2 cups of peanut butter colored roux (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 bay leaves
3 cups of medium diced onions
3 cups of medium diced green bell peppers
3 cups of medium diced celery
2 cups of diced tomatoes
1 lb. of crab legs
1 1/2 lbs. of little neck clams, scrubbed
1 lb. of small scallops
1 lb. of okra (fresh or frozen–thawed)
2 lbs. of whole medium shrimp
1 cup of chopped green onions
File powder to taste
Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pot. Gradually spoon in the roux until you reach your desired thickness. You probably will not use all of the roux. This is a “looser” gumbo than others. After each spoonful, let the mixture come to a simmer so you can see the full effect of the thickening. Once desired thickness is achieved, add all the seasonings (cumin through bay leaves) and bring back to a simmer. Be careful not to boil vigorously. Gumbo should be cooked at a gentle simmer the whole way through. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and tomatoes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Once the gumbo comes back to a soft boil, add crab legs and clams and cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture reaches a soft simmer. Finally add the okra, shrimp, scallops and green onions and cook until all seafood is cooked through and flavors are combined, about 15-20 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.
It would be best to make your gumbo a day ahead. This will allow all the flavors to marry well. Serve your gumbo over cooked rice and add file powder to taste.
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup of all-purpose flour
In a pot over medium heat, add the butter and melt. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour. Cook, stirring often until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. This can be done several days in advance. Butter a roux needs to cook slower than an oil-based roux. Butter will burn if cooked too quickly.
*Obviously I tweaked the meats in this dish. They were out of crab legs and I didn’t have time to cook the gumbo that day so I opted out of the clams as well. (Clams need to be cooked the day you buy them or else the can go bad.) To make up for these two meats, I added an extra pound of shrimp and about 3/4 of a pound of andouille sausage (I like Cajun Hollar brand). I also subbed oilve oil for butter in the roux to make it healthier. The roux didn’t thicken as much as it would have with butter, so I used more flour and used almost the whole recipe.*