Today is Mardi Gras, ‘Fat Tuesday’ a holiday well know in the south, which marks the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. Many people go down to visit Louisiana a week or two before this day to experience the Mardi Gras parades. Being that, we are Louisiana neighbors we have festivals going on in Galveston, which is always fun for the whole family.
Some years ago when we lived in Lake Charles, a friend invited us over for dinner she had made a seafood gumbo. This recipe she learned from her mother and grandmother, she recalled how her job was always to prepare the roux, the star for a great gumbo. Through her stories, I learned that like many of our Mexican recipes this gumbo was an experience, passed down from generations and prepared with love to continue traditions and keep a culture alive.
I would love to share this recipe with you on this Mardi Gras, to enjoy and celebrate.
Seafood Gumbo Recipe:
- 4 quarts of Seafood Stock (recipe below)
- 2 lbs. fresh large shrimp, shelled and deveined (reserve heads and shells for stock)
- 1 lb. fresh crabs, cleaned and cut in half
- 1 lb. lump crab meat
- 1 lb. smoked sausage cut into 1 in. rounds
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 ½ large green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bag of frozen okra chopped (if using fresh, bake for 20 mins)
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ cup of fresh parsley
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- ½ tbsp. powdered shrimp
- 2 tbsp. cajun seasoning
- 1 tbsp. gumbo filé powder
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
This stock is super easy to make. If you are able to purchase fresh shrimp then go ahead and do this, the flavor is amazing!
- 5 Celery Stalks quartered
- 4 Carrots quartered
- 1 ½ large quartered onion
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 4 Bay leaves
- 2 lbs. Shrimp heads and shells
- 4 Quarts of water
- 1 tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning
Add all ingredients into a pot and cover with water. Let simmer for about an 1 ½. When done, strain and reserve.
Cut the sausage into about 1/2 inch rounds and cook in a skillet over medium heat, until slightly browned, Remove sausage and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
So the Roux, (pronounced “roo”) is probably the hardest and most important step in making a great gumbo. You might as well pull up a chair or have your phone with you to chat it up with your amigas ’cause you’ll be mixing for a pretty long while. It took me close to an hour on medium to low heat to get my roux to that dark brown color I wanted for my gumbo. Don’t go any further than this color as it will be burned and you will have to start all over again.
- In a 12-quart stockpot add in a 1:1 ratio of oil or any kind of fat you desire. I always use 1 cup of vegetable oil, on medium heat to prevent burning of roux. Once the oil is hot, add in 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Continue mixing with a whisk or wooden spatula to whisk away clumps, continue stirring on a med-low heat to build that desired dark brown color which will give your gumbo the perfect smoky flavor.
Let’s make some Gumbo!!
- When your roux is done, turn heat to low and add in the chopped up celery, bell peppers and onions also known as “the Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking. Continue stirring constantly and add in diced garlic.
- Add in the seafood stock we made at the beginning of recipe along with bay leaves, thyme and powdered shrimp. Stir then turn the heat up to medium-high, let simmer for 15 minutes. If any clumps begin to form when the stock was added, the heat and continued stir should get rid of them.
- Add in crabs, crabmeat, shrimp, okra, and cooked sausage. Continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with cajun seasoning and add in filé powder 5 minutes before turning heat off.
- Serve over white rice and enjoy!
Laissez les bons temps rouler