When we were in New Orleans at Christmas, Brennan discovered Gumbo and couldn't get enough.
I think he ordered it at every meal.
I like my mom's Gumbo recipe that is tomato-based that I will make for the family soon and share here.
But Brennan was introduced to the roux-based variety in New Orleans, so I decided to make it for him yesterday (with his help of course).
The old joke goes:
Betty: I'd love your jambalaya recipe.
Thelma: First you make a roux...
Betty: Never mind.
I don't have a lot of patience for making roux on the stove, so I was thrilled to discover Alton Brown's oven-based roux! I made it for yesterday's Gumbo and it was perfect.
I picked up Gumbo Filé (ground leaves of the sassafras tree) and then read that you use Filé OR okra in Gumbo to thicken it. Since Gumbo without okra is like a day without sunshine, I made it with okra and served the Filé on the side. But, it isn't necessary for my recipe below.
You start with Alton's Roux.
Simply mix the flour and oil together and put in a baking dish. This pie plate was perfect.
Then bake at 350 for an hour.
It comes out perfect and you're ready to put it in your pot to start the Gumbo.
(If you like your Roux darker, then leave it in the oven up to 15 minutes longer).
Add your vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
Then add sherry and combine well.
If you don't want to use sherry you can just add more broth.
Then add your broth, herbs, spice, crab meat, and Worcestershire sauce.
Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
Then add your thawed okra (frozen that's been thawed works really well as a thickener).
Then add your shrimp and heat through.
I tossed the shrimp in a little Old Bay Seasonings before adding them to the Gumbo.
I made a big pot of rice.
The only other condiments were the Gumbo Filé and Tabasco.
I like my Gumbo with a lot of rice.
If you prefer yours like a soup, just use more broth.
You'll notice we didn't even bother to remove the bay leaves - we were all anxious to get to the Gumbo.
I figured we'd just treat it like the baby in the King Cake!
I was a winner!
This Gumbo as a huge hit yesterday.
I'll certainly be making it again and again.
As with any soups there are endless combinations.
I'll probably add chicken or sausage next time, but it certainly doesn't need it.