Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's Cookin?: Seafood Gumbo

This recipe is for the inner Cajun in you. For Mardi Gras, I decided to go a little Cajun. It's a delicious gumbo with a kick. I'm no Cajun expert. I've had my fair share of gumbo but can't confess to know what an authentic gumbo tastes like. This recipe was delicious! The spices add just the right taste and flavor to this dish. I couldn't stop eating it! In the words of that crazy kook Charlie Sheen, "WINNER"!

I've never made a roux before. It took a while to get the heavenly peanut butter dark color (around 10-15 minutes). Keep stirring your roux. Don't let it burn! You can use any combination of seafood you like. I just happened to see scallops and clams on sale. Some suggestions are raw shrimps (shells off, tails on), cooked crawfish tails, lump crab meat, oysters (shucked), mussels, etc. Depending on what you add, you would add it to the gumbo at different times.

This recipe is moderately spicy (my nose was running a little after eating a bowl of this, but in a good way!). If you want it mild, add less cayenne and paprika. I served it over brown rice but a crusty french bread would have been excellent to have around!!

Seafood Gumbo
Serves: 6-8

1 c. flour
1 c. vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (for frying)
1/2 lb. andouille sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 package frozen okra, thawed and sliced into bite sized pieces
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. crushed dried thyme
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1 qt (or 32 oz.) chicken broth or stock
1 lb. clams
1/2 lb. bay scallops
salt and black pepper to taste

1) If using clams or mussels in the shell, pick through them and throw out any chipped, broken or open shells. Soak them in fresh water for 20 minutes to remove any sand. As the shellfish "breathe", they will circulate the fresh water and flush out any remaining sand or debris still left in them. After 20 minutes, remove the shellfish from the water. The sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Scrub the outsides of the shellfish to remove any particles or barnacles. Set aside.

2) Make your roux in a small saucepan. Combine 1 c. flour and 1 c. vegetable oil in the saucepan and over medium heat, stir continuously to make sure that the mixture does not burn. Continue to stir until the roux turns to a dark brown color with a nutty aroma.

It will looks like this (like peanut butter) after about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3) In a small pot, steam your shellfish with about 1 c. of chicken broth until they just open. Turn off heat and set aside (reserve broth for gumbo). Toss any shellfish that did not open.

4) In a large pot, add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and over medium-high heat saute onions, celery, green peppers and garlic until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

5) Add the andoullie sausage and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes.

6) Add tomatoes, spices, okra and remaining chicken stock (as well as reserved chicken stock from steaming the shellfish). Bring to a medium boil. Stir roux to bring it together again. Add 1 Tbsp. roux at a time to your gumbo to bring it to the proper thickness (I used about 1/2 of the mixture). Taste gumbo and salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if you desire. If using raw shrimp, add it at this point and cook until shrimp are opaque. Lower heat and simmer.

7) If using crawfish, crabmeat or oysters, add it now. Continue to simmer gumbo for another 1/2 hour. If using scallops and pre-steamed shellfish (clams or mussels), add them now and simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and serve.


meemsnyc said...

I absolutely love gumbo! I'll have to try this recipe. Yum.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I love seafood. It look so delicious.

julie said...

Love me some gumbo! And congrats on your upcoming trip, how exciting!!! Paris pastries are more than enough reason to visit :)