Gumbo recipe, for Nancy

Lars

Here's my recipe for gumbo. It's a bit involved, but worth it for me.

Seafood Gumbo

1-1/2 pounds okra, sliced into 1/4” thick pieces (fresh or frozen)

2 tbsp canola oil

2 cups chopped celery

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced

4 tsp vegetable soup base

8 cups water

2 tbsp clam or crab soup base, or to taste

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup flour

3-4 bay leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 tbsp dried basil)

1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)

4 tsp chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (do not substitute dried for this one)

4-6 Thai chili peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 tbsp filé powder

1 10 oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained

1-1/2 pounds King Crab legs (or 1 pound lump crab meat)

1 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined

1/2 pound bay scallops or clam or oyster meat

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

4 cups cooked rice

Sauté the okra in a small amount of oil in an iron skillet for 8 minutes on high heat and then about 7 minutes more on medium heat, or until the stringiness is gone. Set aside.

Note: Do not substitute olive oil in this recipe.

Sauté the celery, onions, bell pepper, and garlic in 2 tbsp oil until the onions are translucent. I usually start the celery first for a few minutes, and then I add the onions and bell pepper and sauté those for a couple of minutes and add the garlic last. This way the garlic will not burn and not turn bitter. I sauté with the garlic only about 2 minutes. You can then store these on top of the okra.

In a large saucepan or stockpot, make a roux with the 1 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp canola oil, and 1/3 cup flour. Cook the roux until it is a deep reddish brown—this will be just a few minutes past the “peanut butter” color stage. Add more oil, if needed. The roux should have the consistency of yogurt and be fairly easy to stir at this point so that you do not burn it. Add the tomatoes and cook until all liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is thickened into a paste. Add the filé, basil, oregano, and thyme and cook about 5 minutes more. It will be a very thick paste at this point, similar to a choux or puff paste. Add the water slowly, stirring constantly, and then add the bay leaves and bouillon. Stir until the bouillon has dissolved, and then add the sautéed vegetables, including the okra, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. This is a good time to start making the rice.

Just before you are ready to serve, add the crab, shrimp, parsley, and scallops, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the scallops are done. Check the seasoning, and add a dash of cayenne, Tabasco sauce, Chinese Chili Paste if it is not hot enough. It should be slightly salty, as the rice will require a bit of salt, but be careful not to overdo the salt—this will ruin the flavor. You can always add a tiny bit of salt at the table. If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, add them only at the time of serving, and store leftover shrimp separately. Serve in large, deep soup bowls over rice. You may want to offer Tabasco or chili paste for those who want more pepper flavor, but I don’t find this necessary. If you use Thai chili peppers, it will be hot enough. If you use milder peppers, you may have to increase the quantity or you can leave the seeds in.

When I make quantities that I expect to freeze, I always store the leftovers in individual containers of whatever amount I want to reheat at one time. Gumbo can be reheated once, but not twice.

Yield:4 quarts, or 8 large (2 cup) servings, not including rice

Variations

Many people like to add chopped Andouille sausage to gumbo, but I reserve that for jambalaya. You can make your own fish stock in place of water and bouillon, but this dish is already enough work as it is. However, if you boil your own shrimp and crab, use the water that you boil them in for some of the water in this recipe. You can still intensify the flavor by adding the bouillon.

SaveComment16Like4
Comments (16)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
CA Kate z9

I'm not Nancy, but I'm thanking you for posting this recipe. It sounds delicious.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chloebud

Also not Nancy but thanks from me, too!

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
plllog

Same here! I may never make it, but I've seen some really awful gumbo recipes, so I'm thrilled to add yours to my stash for when I'm read to buy flié powder, etc., and tackle it. :) Thanks, Lars!

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jasdip

Can Gumbo be called gumbo if I don't use okra? I despise okra.

Lars, I'd love to see a picture of this soup!

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancyofnc

Wow. Sounds delicious - thanks Lars! There are a lot of steps and ingredients. Good that it makes a lot for freezer fare. I didn't realize there was so much seafood in gumbo and I happen to be able to get fresh from a neighbor who goes to the Gulf once a month. I have several sassafras trees so now I'll add to this by harvesting and make my own file powder. Well, maybe not.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Jasdip, okra isn't necessary. Probably as many variations of Gumbo as those that make it. What is most consistent is the Trinity, onion, celery, green pepper. And the dark roux. It is worth it to get ahold of some filé.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Here is a link to Sol's gumbo. No okra. HERE

Shrimp, andouille, crab. No filé. Crab is 25$ a lb here so a bit excessive unless a special occasion. Andouille may be hard to find. Keilbasa is an ok substitute. Even better if you can give it some time on a smoker.

We make a smoked chicken, sausage, and shrimp gumbo. Always for a crowd like NewYears day or a holiday weekend. Smoke a few dozen boneless skinless chicken thighs the day before and some kielbasa. Not a big kielbasa fan but sliced thin and into the oven to roast under the broiler for a few minutes gives it a nice roasted flavor and renders some of that fattiness. If a smoker is not available.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lars

Sleevendog will hate this, but the word gumbo means okra in some African language. However, many people just use filé instead of okra - I like to use both.

I wrote this recipe almost 20 years ago, but I haven't really changed it since then.

You do not have to use that much seafood in it, and you can make a smaller batch by cutting the ingredients in half. I make a large batch because it freezes well (for up to 6 months), and since it takes the same amount of time to make a larger batch, I like to have some to freeze.

Some gumbo does not has seafood at all but uses chicken and sausage instead. I love the seafood version, however, and it always reminds me of New Orleans and east Texas (Houston and Galveston).

Gumbo in Los Angeles is more often found in Caribbean restaurants, and it does not taste the same.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jinx

Mmm, thank you, Lars, can’t wait to try it. I haven’t made any in a while because we have a local Cajun place nearby that has great gumbo. I get it or etoufee with blackened catfish. Now I’m craving all these things. :)

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

No, I don't hate that Lars, 😜. I expected that to come up. 😂

Gumbo does not mean 'okra' in NewOrleans.

The history is a bit murky. Historically, they say, okra was used in the shrimp/seafood harvest months and filé in the gaming months with meats. So many varieties of okra now that can be grown year round.

I worked at the GumboShop in the French Quarter for a year part time during the school year and full time in the summer months. Just looked it up and still there. Still voted the best by the locals.

Best memory of that time....my first rescue kitty was given to me by the hostess. Lived 18 years and so loved by friends I had no issues finding a home/caretaker/babysitter when out of town. Fetched like a pup and was leash trained for walks.

I thought filé turned bitter when heated. Why it is used off heat at the end of cooking and placed on the table for the lovers of more. Could be a chef myth.

Like any recipe, make it your own and do not let anyone tell you otherwise how it should be.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lars

I happen to love okra and always buy it whenever I see it fresh. I've had gumbo in New Orleans that had filé instead of okra, and I was fine with that.

I would make it with crawfish if I could get them for a good price here, but they are quite expensive at the Santa Monica Seafood Market.

I recently bought a reprint of New Orleans cookbook from around 1900, and I will have to see if it has gumbo in it. It might have an interesting variation that I have not tried, but it might also have a few ingredients that I cannot find.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
plllog

Lars, if you can get your hands on California spiny lobsters, they make a good substitute for crawfish. Sport fishermen pull them in this time of year.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nekotish

Another non-okra user, but I make gumbo more often since I leaned to make the roux in the oven. Minimal stirring and less chance of burning. I takes a couple of hours in the oven, mostly unattended, so I usually bake other things at the same time.

Save     Thanked by Lars
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I've known about the oven method but not tried it yet. Nice to know it works well. DH is the roux maker having more patience than I. But I prep and do most other stages of the meal. Good teamwork. I read it can be made ahead like the day before. I wonder if it freezes ok. I would guess yes.


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Here is a link to TonyChachere's filé. We have this one and another brand. They all seem the same. HERE

No clue if the instant roux is any good but the reviews are good. (the first 5 star review is hilarious). Not something I would purchase but maybe a first go at it would not be so intimidating if never had gumbo or etouffee. *note the filé is smaller than the roux....deceiving. Don't care for the caramel coloring or anti-caking but some don't care about that.




Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lars

I use Zatarain's filé powder, or whatever I happen to find in the market. I believe I bought it last at a Lebanese/Syrian market that sells a lot of spices.

Some people make a roux by browning just the flour first, but I've not done that. I make roux very often and don't mind making it, even if it takes a while. I normally do not make a roux as dark as the one I make for gumbo, however.

I'm going to try dehydrating some okra the next time I have a lot of it. I've bought dehydrated okra at Trader Joe's, and it was very good. If you think you don't like okra, you might try dehydrated okra. It has a similar flavor but of course has not of the slime. The slime never bothered me, and I made another African dish with okra and tomatoes, using a recipe from Marcus Samuelsson from his book on African cooking. I also make okra Parmigiana, which is similar to eggplant Parmigiana but uses okra instead of eggplant. I invented that recipe myself, as an experiment about 15 years ago, and really like it. I think other people make it also, but I was unaware of this when I started making it.

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Kitchen Design Christmas Recipes From ‘Love the Coopers’
Get the recipes for dishes seen in the new movie opening November 13
Full Story
Decorating Guides 10 Recipes for Shabby Chic Style
Rustic furniture, floral fabrics, sparkling chandeliers. Here are 10 easy ways to bring the romantic cottage look into your home
Full Story
Kitchen Design Mix and Match Kitchen Materials for a Knockout Design
Give your kitchen unexpected flavor by combining wood, stone, glass and more. Here’s how to get the mix right
Full Story
Step into a Ferguson Showroom and you'll be surrounded by the latest styles in kitchen, bath and lighting design... Read More
Step into a Ferguson Showroom and you'll be surrounded by the latest styles in kitchen, bath and lighting design... Read More