This year I made a Seafood Gumbo with shrimp and crab to celebrate Mardi Gras, also known as "Fat Tuesday".
Gumbo is actually pretty easy to make, but it does take some patience to make the roux. The roux is an important component of this dish and it will take about 30 minutes to cook low and slow until the oil and flour mixture turns from a pale tan to a dark caramel color. The aroma also becomes nutty and give so much flavor to the dish. This step is important and really should not be rushed.
I actually started my roux and prepped all my other ingredients for the dish as the roux cooked. If you take your time and give an occasional whisk or stir to the roux to keep it moving along, you will be fine.
I spiced up this gumbo by adding not only some red chili flakes (a lot of them), but also added some jalapeno alongside the bell pepper that is a part of the traditional "trinity" in Cajun cooking.
The trinity that I mentioned above is the celery, onion and bell pepper that starts off a lot of traditional Cajun/Creole dishes. I love the extra heat the jalapeno pepper gives.
You can also take some extra time and make your own shrimp stock using the shrimp peel. Now that's what I call using all your ingredients well.
We ate the gumbo with a side of rice and it was a big thumbs up from my family. I don't think I can wait until Mardi Gras next year to make this dish again... I will definitely be making it much sooner for sure.
Crab and Shrimp Seafood Gumbo
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions diced
2 medium bell peppers (red and green) chopped
4-5 stalks celery diced
2-3 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
1 Tbs paprika powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
red chili flakes to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken stock or shrimp stock
1 bay leaf
2lbs cleaned and deveined shrimp
1lb crab meat (lump or claw) fresh
1/2 lb (8oz) frozen sliced okra
Step 1: Make the roux by placing a large pot on medium low heat and whisking the flour and oil together. Whisk as needed (so not to burn) and cook for about 30 minutes until the color changes from light tan to a dark tan (color of caramel).
Note: This step does take time and patience. You can gather and prep your other ingredients while this is working on the stove- just make sure to whisk or stir the roux frequently.
To make the Gumbo:
Add the minced or grated garlic to the roux and saute for 15-20 seconds. Then increase the heat to medium and add the peppers, celery and onion. Saute with salt and black pepper for 2-3 minutes.
Next add the seasoning of paprika, red chili flakes, dried thyme, onion powder and more black pepper and salt.
Then add the chicken stock or shrimp stock and bay leaf. Stir well and make sure scrape the bottom of the pot. Then place a lid on the pot and cook covered for 50-60 minutes. Check back and stir occasionally.
Next add the frozen okra to the gumbo and stir well. Cook covered for another 10 minutes.
Then add the crab meat and the raw shrimp. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through.
Taste for seasoning and serve hot with rice. Enjoy.
Directions for Shrimp Stock:
1. Take shrimp shells/tails and saute in 2 Tbs of canola oil with 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 stalk celery chopped and 1 carrot chopped.
2. Next add 1 tsp dried thyme, some salt and 8-10 cups of water. Simmer on medium-high heat for 2 hours. Strain and use as desired.
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