authentic seafood gumbo recipe
An authentic seafood gumbo recipe, best described as Heaven in a bowl
If you're looking for a seafood gumbo recipe, you've hit the jackpot! I
confess to being a gumbo addict, first becoming acquainted with this culinary
delight some 20+ years ago. Gumbo is the most incredible soup on the
planet, IMHO. First, a little history: Gumbo is a Cajun dish, derived from
French, Caribbean, African-American and Native American culinary influences.
It's similar to that famous French creation, bouillabaisse, adapted to
ingredients available in the Southern United States. There are probably
hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes for seafood gumbo. Every seafood
gumbo cook has a favorite combination of ingredients. Here I've listed my
personal list of favorites. You might want to try this seafood gumbo recipe
just as it is – see how you like it (Mmmmm!). This will help you
discover the incomparable taste of gumbo. Next time you make it, toss in
any type of seafood that strikes your fancy.
The real secret to an authentic gumbo lies in the roux, a carefully prepared
mixture of vegetable oil and flour, and the particular mix of vegetables,
consisting of onions, bell peppers and celery. Seasoning is also an
important component of gumbo. There are two types of thickening agents for
gumbo. One type of gumbo is thickened with okra, the other with sassafras
(known as gumbo file', available at supermarkets in the spice aisle). This
seafood gumbo recipe employs gumbo file' as the thickener, simply my
preference, as okra has a sticky quality I don't care for. OK, those are the
basics. Let's move on to your very next menu BFF.
This recipe yields 12 bodacious servings. Take my word for it when I say
you never have to worry about too much gumbo! You'll be lucky if it idles
in the frig after the second day. Please note that the flavor improves when
you make it a day ahead of time. Just put a lock on the stock pot until
you're ready to serve!
Heavenly Seafood Gumbo Recipe
1 cup of flour
1 cup of vegetable oil
3 medium-large yellow onions, diced
4 sweet bell peppers (1 each green, red, yellow and orange
1 bunch of celery, sliced in about ½ inch slices
2 quarts of stock (chicken, shrimp broth and clam juice make an ideal
1 pound of medium shrimp, uncooked, with shells
1 pound of bay scallops
2 15-ounce cans of chopped clams
1 pound of crayfish (available in the seafood freezer section)
1/2-1 pound of crab meat
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon gumbo file'
cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce to taste (read instructions carefully on
cooked white rice
1.Wash and prep all of the veggies, setting aside in a large bowl.
2.Peel the shrimp and set aside. Put the shells in a saucepan with 3 cups
of water. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove
the shells and discard (unless you've got a kitty – they love these!).
Pour the shrimp shell broth in to an 8-cup measuring cup. Open the cans
of clams and drain the juice in to the same measuring cup. Fill the
remainder of the measuring cup with chicken broth. (Note: A mixed stock
delivers a more complex flavor.) If necessary, defrost the scallops and
3.In a 10-12 quart stockpot, warm the vegetable oil over low heat. When
the oil is well warmed (do not let it smoke!), begin to add the flour,
slowly, using a whisk constantly to mix the oil and flour. This step of the
seafood gumbo recipe is the only tedious part. It takes about 20 minutes of
whisking the mixture to achieve the deep, mahogany color that makes the
perfect gumbo roux. Be patient! Don't let it burn. It will acquire a nutty
scent as you go along. Keep whisking ... it's great exercise for the arms!
4.When the roux is done, immediately pour all of the veggies in to the
stock pot, using a slotted spoon to mix the roux and veggies well, stirring
for just 2-3 minutes.
5.Slowly, add the 8 cups of prepared stock to the stock pot, about a cup
at a time, stirring all the while.
6.Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme to the pot. Stir well and let it simmer
for 2-3 hours. This step doesn't require more than an occasional stirring
and develops that authentic Gumbo depth of flavor.
7.Add the shrimp, scallops, clams and crayfish to the pot. Stir well and
allow to continue simmering for about 15 minutes.
8.Add the gumbo file' and stir well. This thickens the gumbo.
9.The fun and final steps for this seafood Gumbo recipe: Taste your brew,
adding salt to taste – salt does bring out the taste of your gumbo
marvelously. Just don't overdo it. You may also opt to lightly salt the
Gumbo and let each diner salt to their taste. Add the cayenne pepper or
Tabasco(R) sauce, but carefully! A good rule of thumb is ¼ teaspoon of
cayenne, or several drops of Tabasco(R) at a time. Stir well and keep
taste testing until you're satisfied.
Your seafood Gumbo recipe is now complete! Put a cup or two of cooked
rice in a large bowl for each serving. Ladle about two cups of Gumbo over
each bowl. Now it's time to eat the fruits of your seafood Gumbo recipe.
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