Monday, January 23, 2012

Seafood Gumbo

I have the great fortune to have some very dear friends who live in New Orleans who have taught me to truly appreciate great cajun cookin'!  Through out many of my visits to the Big Easy we have eaten at some of the finest restaurants including Galatoire's, Antoine's and Commander's Palace, but my favorite restaurants are the ones that came from the locals suggestions including Mother's and some shack that served the most amazing po boys I have ever put in my mouth, a place I sadly don't believe survived Katrina.  

I have been to New Orleans both pre and post Katrina and if there one thing that city has that keeps people coming back for more it is is the courage to believe they can rebuild, the persistent can-do attitude, and a certain twang in their voice that make the rest of the world believe the same.  

As I have said before though what I truly love is to get down there and get in the kitchen with my friends who are truly incredible cooks and watch them work their magic!  It is my love and admiration of New Orleans and its residents that draw me to recipes such as this one!  What I find so interesting is that to truly get to the essence of a good cajun recipe one really has to throw out all the measuring tools, go by taste and then add a little more Tabasco!  Here is my first shot at gumbo and if I do say so myself, it was pretty freaking good!

Seafood Gumbo

½ Cup Rice
2/3 Cup Water
Dash Salt
1 stick Butter Or Margarine
2 Cups Andouille Sausage -- diced medium
1 Red Onion Onions -- diced medium
1 Green Pepper -- diced medium
3 stalks Celery -- sliced medium
4 Cloves Garlic -- minced
½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 Cups Hot Water
4 Tablespoons lobster or shrimp Base
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ Tsp Hot Red Pepper Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Cup Water
3  tablespoons Gumbo File
2 pounds Taste Shrimp 70/90 Count
2 bags Frozen Okra -- sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes
24 oz fresh oysters
3 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Cup Or To Taste Lump Crabmeat

I typically make the first part the day before so all of the flavors can blend together making it so delicious the next day, so here is Day #1:

In sauce pot melt butter. 
Pour in the flour and make a roux until it becomes the color of chocolate.  
Over medium heat whisk constantly until the desired color has been obtained.  This may take about 15 minutes but it will get there...I promise!  
Add sausage, onions, green pepper, celery and garlic. 
Saute 5 minutes. Add 1st amount of water, lobster base, Worcestershire, pepper sauce, lemon pepper, basil, parsley, thyme, red and black pepper. 
Mix until well blended. Add chicken broth.  
Heat to boiling over med-high heat; reduce heat and gently boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small bowl blend water and gumbo file with whisk. 
Gradually pour into boiling liquid, stirring constantly.  
Heat to boiling over med-high heat; reduce heat and gently boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seafood and okra. 
Mix well. Add water and tomatoes, with juices.
Heat to boiling; reduce heat, gently boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool before transferring the entire pot to the refrigerator to sit over night.

Day #2:
A couple of hours before getting started remove the pot from the fridge and allow to get to room temperature.  Two hours before serving bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the shrimp, crab, and oysters once the gumbo has started to steam a bit.  
At this point grab yourself a cocktail and prop your feet up because it will need to simmer for about an hour. Do not let it come to a rolling boil as this could overcook the seafood.

Serve over white rice with some hush puppies if you are feeling frisky!

I must admit, it was divine!
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