I make gumbo when I have a need to tend to something. Perhaps if I had a bigger garden, I wouldn’t ever make the stuff. This batch contained all shellfish. I love gumbo with catfish as well, though.
½ cup butter
½ cup all purpose unbleached flour
3 medium yellow onions, diced small
1½ green bell peppers, diced small
3 Serrano peppers, minced
¾ cups celery, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1- 1½ quart stock (I’m using chicken bc my grocery store has stopped carrying fish stock)
2 cups okra, sliced
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves,
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 tbs fresh sage, chopped
2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 dashes allspice (Thanks Sooz!)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp white vinegar (if needed) (Lemon juice would be better, but I’m out)
1 tsp table sugar (if needed)
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 lb crawfish tails, shelled
½ lb gulf shrimp, shelled
½ lb bay scallops
Melt butter in the bottom of a very large, heavy dutch oven over medium high heat. When the fat is melted, carefully sprinkle in the flour. Stir and scrape constantly until the roux browns to a chestnut color. If it burns at all, start over. This can take upwards of 30 minutes. If the roux seems too oily add a bit more flour at a time. Remove from heat if you aren’t ready to add the vegetables at once.
Add onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux. Mix thoroughly so that the roux is distributed evenly through out the vegetables. Cook, lidded, over medium heat until the onions become transparent and the vegetables soften. Add tomatoes. Slowly stir in stock. Add spices, herbs, okra, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a bubble, and add more stock if needed to reach desired thickness. Taste frequently. If the gravy needs brightening, add a tiny bit of white vinegar (or lemon if you’ve got it). If the acid is overpowering, add a pinch of sugar to even it out. Simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, until the tomatoes fall apart and blend with the soup.
Just prior to serving, add seafood and stir. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp and scallops have firmed and pinked. Remove from heat. Serve over white rice with a sprinkle of filé on top. Top with green onions, pepper sauce, lemon wedges…. whatever you like. I also firmly believe that gumbo should be served with a good crusty bread for slopping.