I made my first Gumbo this weekend. I know how to make a roux, but was not willing to put in the time to make my own due to my current handicap of a broken foot. It turned out great. I also fixed a corn fritter that I got from Cooking Light. It is moist and delicious. You could add some sliced sausage or taco meat to it and make a great main dish. Here is my basic gumbo recipe. Enjoy.
1 large joy dark Roux (I used Savoy's)
6 oz. tomato paste
4-5 (48 oz) boxes of stock (I used chicken because we could not find seafood, and seafood may be too much of that seafood flavor for some people)
2-3 bell pepper, chopped
2 onions, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
4 dried bay leaves
3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 (8oz.) lump crab meat
2-3 lbs shrimp (we used 30/40 size)- you can buy them already pealed if you do not want to use the shells to flavor the stock. I did not do try this this time due to time restraints, but I will try it next time. You will need cheese cloth if you are planning on doing this step.
2 loops of smoked sausage
green onions, chopped
- Oysters optional
Add all the roux to a large stock pot. Heat it over really low heat so that it "melts". You may need to add 1/4 cup of stock to the roux to get it moving along quicker. Once the roux is in a more liquid state (it will not be very loose) add the veggies and stir them into the roux. Add in 4 dried bay leaves, 3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, 1- 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (you can adjust this later if you want it hotter). Simmer them on low to medium-low heat for 15- 20 minutes stirring occasionally. The vegetables will begin to wilt as they release their sugars into the roux.
While roux is loosening and the veggies are simmering you can flavor the broth with the shrimp peels and a little oyster juice if you are using them. To do this, pour all the stock into another large pot and turn it on high to medium-high heat (your going to bring it to a slight boil). Tie your shrimp peels (some people put in crab legs too) in a cheese cloth and dampen it with water. When the broth begins to boil drop the cheese cloth in and pour in a little of the clam juice (water). Turn it down and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Pull the cloth out and give it a little squeeze. Check and make sure there is no escaped debris.
When the veggies look nice and soft begin adding in the broth slowly. I like to add in 2 cups at a time and then stir it in to the roux until all incorporated. Bring to a boil and adjust heat seasoning and salt or pepper. Add in the sausage and oysters (optional). Wait until you are 5 minutes from serving and stir in the crab and the shrimp. Serve over rice, and top it with green onions and file (and maybe a little Tabasco).