It’s still cold here in Nashville. So we’re still eating soups and stews … and probably will be until May! You might start to think this is a soup and stew blog. Promise it’s more!
Right behind French Onion Soup is Seafood Gumbo on my list of favorite warm-up, (almost)-one-pot dinners. Seafood Gumbo has the added benefit of being a little bit spicy which helps with the warming quality. Will’s is delicious. It’s seriously as good as any gumbo I’ve had in any restaurant anywhere.
He’s got a couple of tricks up his sleeve. One trick (and this is the one that adds a second pot into the mix) is pan-frying the okra before dropping it into your gumbo. This trick significantly reduces the slimy factor that many people don’t care for but it’s totally optional. I, for one, like okra slime!
The other trick is in the roux. Lots of folks shy away from making a roux because they’ve unknowingly burnt the roux in the past and the resulting flavor is, in a word, HORRIBLE. Luckily, avoiding horrible with a roux is easy. Just make sure you don’t have the heat up too high (medium is good) and that you stir it non-stop.
We love this recipe so much that Will makes up a big batch of it and withholds the shrimp. Then we’ll bag up individual serving sizes and toss them in the freezer. When we’re in a gumbo mood, he just pulls out a couple of frozen servings, some frozen shrimp and sometimes he makes up a pot of rice. Dinner’s on the table in no time.
Below is Will’s secret recipe. Roux-la-la!
- 4 Tbsp canola oil
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 3 cups okra, diced
- olive oil
- 2 medium white onions, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 whole tomatoes, peeled and seeded or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (regular paprika ok)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb. peeled, deveined and thawed shrimp
- Long-grain rice (optional)
- Cut your okra into 1/2 inch pieces. Dust the okra in salted flour.
- Put a Tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat. Drop one okra in the heat. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
- Brown the okra in the non-stick pan in single-layer batches. Transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil. Add another Tbsp of olive oil for the next batch.
- Next, combine the canola oil and the flour in a 12-quart cast iron dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until blonde, stirring constantly.
- Add onions, bell pepper and jalapeno. Add a tsp of salt. Sweat over medium heat until onions turn translucent, stirring constantly.
- Add the cayenne pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, black pepper, and paprika and stir.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the andouille sausage, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Your roux mixture should be light brown at this point.
- Add the tomatoes, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add chicken stock, salt and other seasonings to taste. Bring this to a boil.
- Add the fried okra to the dutch oven.
- Add the shrimp. Put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are done. It's ok to peek early!
- Serve straight or over long-grain rice.
- If your gumbo is too thin, mix 1 Tbsp of flour, 2 Tbsp of water and a pinch of salt in a separate dish and then stir into to the boiling soup.
- If your gumbo is too thick, add chicken stock and salt.
- The seasoning mixture in this recipe can also be replaced with Tony Chachere's Famous Creole Seasoning. As always, taste your gumbo to insure balanced seasoning!