This week’s blog is all about the GUMBO! With Fat Tuesday just passing and me being a creature of habit and lover of tradition, that could only mean one thing, it’s time to make my annual pot of gumbo. All I can think of right now is how I want to make a song to the tune of BINGO, but replace the word with Gumbo. Ugh, what is wrong with me?
This year’s pot of Gumbo will be extra memorable because the twins decided they were going to give the soup a whirl and…Will turned into a fire breathing dragon. I guess the Gumbo was a pinch spicy. I was shocked he even tried it being that he is my more picky eater and not too long ago, he was the recipient of a little hot sauce on the tongue for getting mouthy. I thought perhaps I may have permanently scarred him, but it is true what they say, children are resilient. And DONT WORRY! It wasn’t a habanero sauce, I used the weak stuff, amateur heat. He did act as though I aimed a blow torch to his tongue. Mean mom. I know.
I’m sorry, I digress, there is a dragon in this story. Apparently, the heat from the gumbo gave Will the ability to shoot fire out of his mouth just like a fire breathing dragon. For the record, it was not that hot. Spicy for sure. Dragon fire hot? No way. So, for the duration of the meal after every single bite, we sat and laughed as our son blew fire at the table, the door, the dog, his sister and everything else in the kitchen until his bowl was empty. I love those sweet and hilarious moments. The imagination and sense of humor these tiny little humans have are incredibly refreshing and moments like the FBD will be memories I will hold close to my heart. Life is precious. Less sap, more food.
This recipe was inspired from a William-Sonoma recipe. I never make it the same way twice because I usually have something on hand. There is an extra step involved as well. Gumbo recipes call for making a roux. That is where you mix equal parts flour and in this case vegetable oil. Next time I am using bacon fat. Go big or go home, right? If a roux is something you haven’t done before, don’t fret. It’s easy, just takes a little extra time and attentiveness.
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1/2 lb okra, stem removed and sliced on a bias, 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 c. vegetable oil
6 Tbsp. flour
3 cloves garlic minced
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14 oz)
5 c. bottled clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 Tbsp. cajun seasoning
Salt and Pepper
1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced into 1 in. pieces (I used summer sausage because I had some in the fridge)
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined (I had a bag of frozen cooked shrimp)
1 c. crabmeat (I did not have that, but did however have 1 lb. of ham off the bone, so I diced that up and threw that in)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Dice the onion and the peppers. Trim the stems from the okra and cut the pods crosswise into 1/2 thick slices.
In a large heavy soup pot, or in my case, Chester Copper Pot, over medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp. of oil. Add the okra and saute, stirring occasionally until golden brown. About 15 minutes. When that is complete, removed the okra with a slotted spoon and reserve in a separate bowl.
Now it is time to make a roux!
In the same pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 6 Tbsp. of oil for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour until incorporated. Cook the flour mixture or roux until it gets darker brown in color. You must stir this constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. This should take about 4 minutes.
Do not let the roux turn black. Add the onion and the peppers, stirring periodically, until softened. About 10 minutes.
At this point you can add the okra, tomatoes and their juice, clam juice, bay leaves and creole seasoning. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to low and simmer for 3o minutes.
Stir in the sausage, shrimp and ham, or what you have on hand and cook until the sausage is heated through and if the shrimp is raw, cook until its pink. About 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon rice into a bowl, ladle the gumbo on top and finish with fresh, chopped parsley.
If Gumbo isn’t your jam, try this soup. It is so easy and sure to warm you up.
Have a great day, stay warm and MAKE SOME SOUP! Enjoy!
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