Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Gumbo with Shrimp and Andouille

Adapted from a recipe I found on the Internet, this recipe is full of flavor and medium heat. Be sure to use large Gulf shrimp and allow plenty of time to make this! Between chopping, cleaning the shrimp and making shrimp broth, allow at least 1 1/2 hours! If you have a sous chef, you can cut that time down by quite a bit. I recommend a spouse who can assist with cleanup too! :)

1 pound large Gulf shrimp in the shell
1/2 tsp (about 2) garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. dried or 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
salt & pepper (season well)

4 Tbsp. olive oil (or more)
1 1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup red chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery (with some celery leaves mixed in)
2-3 cloves, minced
4 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp tomato paste (from a tube)
1 tsp paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 heaping cup fresh tomato, seeded and chopped
12 oz. smoked andouille sausage (I use Chicken andouille from Trader Joe's), sliced into 1/2 to 1/4 inch round slices
6 cups shrimp broth OR low sodium chicken stock/broth
2 cups chopped okra, thinly sliced and fried in olive oil (see note below)
file' powder (to taste)

Cooked white rice

Peel shrimp and save shells for broth. To make broth: heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 9-10 cup stock pot, add shells, 1 bay leaf, fresh thyme, 2-3 cloves garlic (sliced), and 1/2 onion roughly chopped, allow to sizzle for about 1-2 minutes, but don't allow to brown. Add 7 cups of water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, Strain and refrigerate if making earlier in the day.

Devein shrimp and place in a bowl. Add crushed garlic, thyme and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until later.

Now it's time to make the gumbo roux. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot (can use the same one you used for broth, but make sure it is dry and clean). Add onion, red bell pepper and celery. Stir fry until vegetables are soft and lightly browned. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle flour in slowly and mix with oil and veggies. If too dry, add a bit more olive oil until you get a nice thick paste. Cook until well browned. A good roux takes time, so don't hurry this step. Flour will stick on the bottom of the pot, so stir well so it doesn't burn. Add tomato paste, paprika, cayenne and minced garlic. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock (shrimp or chicken) slowly, mixing the roux into the liquid and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the andouille sausages and then heat to a boil. The liquid might be foamy (this is natural). Give it a stir and simmer for about 25 minutes on low.

While gumbo base is simmering, prepare okra and rice.

Fresh okra is slimy, but don't worry, it won't be slimy in your gumbo! Wash, cut off ends of okra and slice it very thin. You will see the slime, but press on! If you love okra, you can add more than 2 cups, but be sure to do at least 2 cups of okra. Now take a large frying pan and add a small amount of olive oil. Add your okra and stir fry on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the slime is gone. Okra will brown, but don't allow it to burn. Once cooked, add to the gumbo base and bring it up to a slow boil. Add shrimp and cook no more than 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is just pink.

To make rice fluffy, after rice is done cooking, remove lid and place an old flour sack dish towel on top and place lid on top to hold it in place. The towel absorbs the extra moisture and rice is not sticky or gooey that way.

Serve gumbo in a large bowl by adding rice to the bowl and then ladeling gumbo on top. Top the gumbo with generous amount of file' powder. Adjust salt and pepper levels to taste and add hot sauce if you want it extra spicy.

I cannot say enough good about this recipe. This is the first time I've made gumbo and the first time I prepared fresh okra. I'm a huge fan and plan to make this again. I cannot wait to eat the leftovers too!

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