I've been experimenting with gumbo for some time, and discovered that, while I've never met a gumbo I didn't like, some are easier to make than others. And none are very easy! You should make this a social occassion (just like chili) so you don't have to do everything!
The following recipe is a compromise between the sublime and practical, and has been acclaimed by at least one other person! :-) It contains a few "non-traditional" ingredients such as turnip and zucinni, but you can bet every vegetable grown in the South has found it's way into a real Acadian's gumbo at one time or another.
Your house should smell *really* good at this point!
Ok, now we're going to chop up the rest of the stuff prior to making the roux. Cut the okra, discarding the stems, and put in colander in sink to drain. Chop the celery, onion, and bell pepper, and put aside in a separate bowl. (Optional: Peel and dice the turnip. Cut the squash and zuchinni into 1-inch chunks.) Slice the sausage. Peel and de-vein the shrimp! (Whew! Take a little break! This is why you shouldn't do this alone!)
Now, we're ready for the roux. Go to the powder room and then make your drink handy so you have no excuse to be distracted from your next task. Add the flour and oil to skillet over medium heat. Stir with wisk or wooden spoon without stopping until it turns a reddish brown (or whatever color you like.) If you see little black flakes or specks, you have to throw it out and start over. I've never had to, so don't get nervous, just pay attention! Please wear protective clothing during this stage! If the roux touches you, you will burn!
Remove skillet from heat and add the chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper (this is why we put them aside together), stirring for several more minutes. This cools the roux and starts cooking the "holy trinity" veggies. Add the skillet's contents to the stock. Add the turnip and tomato to the stock. Add the sausage to the skillet and saute until browned, then add to the stock. Simmer 30 minutes.
Add the rest of the veggies to the stock. Add the chicken you saved in the fridge. Simmer the whole thing until the "stringiness" from the okra is gone, another 20-30 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the gumbo's done, rinse the shrimp and scallops, and add them to the gumbo. You also have the option to get creative, by adding any or all of:
Once you've made this a time or two, try substituting a smoked chicken instead of raw. Just cut the meat off the carcass and save in the fridge for the last step. Use the cut bones and skin to make the stock. Oh, Baby!
My thanks for information and inspiration go to the Gumbo Pages website. If you ever need a fabulous recipe or sophisticated drink, this is the place!
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