My friend Mike offers us his classic gumbo recipe with okra, andouille and seafood. I wish I had gotten a chance to taste it, but the color of that roux is evidence enough that it must have been great.
This recipe was adapted from several in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. This gumbo is a family favorite. It isn’t too spicy, has a delicious toasty, nutty complexity from the roux, and the okra keeps it from being too thin (the darker you make a roux, the less thickening power it has). It is, however, a definite time commitment. This is a recipe where you should have everything completely prepped and lain out before you start heating the oil for the roux.
Gumbo previously: Gumbo with Chicken, Andouille and Shrimp
Okra Gumbo with Sausage and Fish
Adapted from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen
For the gumbo:
- 1 1/2 lbs okra, stems removed and roughly chopped or sliced into rounds
- 2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press
- one 28-oz can whole tomatoes, cored and crushed or roughly chopped
- 6-8 cups seafood stock
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 pound peeled medium shrimp
- 1 pound firm, white fleshed fish
Grind all of the spices, including the bay leaves, into a fine powder. A spice grinder would work great, but I used a mortar and pestle, which worked fine.
Add the oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Heat it over high until wisps of smoke are just beginning to rise from the pan. Sprinkle the flour on the oil, with the heat still on high, and begin whisking furiously. Be careful not to splash any roux on yourself; it sticks to skin and leaves nasty burns. Whisk constantly, being sure to get into all corners of the pan, until the roux is very dark brown, about five minutes. If you think the roux is starting to burn, pull it off the heat and keep whisking until it cools a bit. Chef Paul recommends a black roux for gumbo; I’ve never been comfortable getting it that dark, but I try to get it as dark as possible without burning. If you notice black specks in the roux, you’ve burned it and need to start over. This is by far the most difficult part of making the gumbo. It can be done over medium heat if you are worried about burning it, but this can take about 30 minutes with constant whisking.
Once the roux has reached the desired color, add about half of the okra and stir, still over high heat. After a minute of two, add the other half, stir for a minute or two, add half the vegetables (celery, onion, and peppers), and after another few minutes add the other half. The vegetables are added in stages to make sure the roux stays hot.
A few minutes after adding the last of the vegetables, once the okra no longer leaves ropy strings when you stir, add the spices and garlic and cook for about a minute. At this stage, you can reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes with their canning liquid, and stir in the hot stock a few cups at a time. Once the gumbo reaches a simmer add the andouille and cook for a few minutes. Add the fish and shrimp, and simmer until they are just cooked. Remove from the heat. Serve in a bowl over a scoop of the rice, along with some crusty bread.
For the rice:
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 2 1/2 cups seafood stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced celery
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of garlic powder, white pepper, cayenne, and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the ingredients in a loaf pan, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 70 minutes. The rice will stay warm for at least 30 minutes after its been removed from the oven.
For the stock:
You could certainly use purchased seafood stock to save time, but I usually make it from scratch
- The shells and tails from about 4 lbs of shrimp (the heads too if you have them) OR the fresh carcass of a fish, or a combination of the two
- 1 large onion, root end removed, and quartered
- leaves and a few ribs from a bunch of celery
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 quarts water
Combine all the ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for half an hour to 45 minutes, and strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth.