Seafood and Sausage Gumbo
3 lbs shrimp, raw, in shell with heads, if available
7 cups water
1 onion, quartered
4 bay leaves
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
4 Tbsp Butter
3 Cups Onion, minced
2 Cups Green Bell pepper, minced
2 Cups Celery, minced
1-1/2 lbs Kielbasa or andouille sausage, cut in 1/2-inch rounds
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Fresh Okra, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1/2 tsp Fresh or dried Thyme leaves
1 tsp Cayenne
2 cups Fresh peeled and chopped tomatoes or canned plum tomatoes
1 lb fresh lump crab meat
Salt, Pepper and Hot Sauce as needed
Rice, for serving
• Peel and devein the shrimp; reserve the heads and shells. Keep the shrimp in a covered bowl in a refrigerator while you make the sauce.
• Put the shrimp heads and shells in a saucepan with the water, quartered onion and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then partly cover and simmer 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a heavy cast iron or steel pan (do not use nonstick). When the oil is hot, add the flour, a little at a time, and blend to a smooth paste using a long-handled flat-bottomed wooden spoon.
• Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the roux reaches the desired color, 25-40 minutes. The roux will gradually deepen in color from light beige to tan, to a deeper, redder brown. When it reaches the color of peanut butter, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the roux has cooled and stopped cooking.
• Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the minced onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions are softened, 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Add the sausage and mix well. Cook 5 minutes more. Add the okra and garlic, stir and cook until the okra stops producing white “threads.”
• Add the remaining bay leaves, the thyme, cayenne, salt, pepper and hot sauce if desired. Mix well. Stir in 6 cups of the shrimp stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then partly cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer about 20 minutes.
• Whisk in the roux. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, whisking well. Lower the heat again and simmer, uncovered, 40-50 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
• Gently stir in the shrimp and crabmeat. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes. To serve, put a mound of hot rice in each serving bowl and ladle on the gumbo, making sure each person gets some of the seafood and sausage.
Recipe courtesy of Best of America