Glorious Gumbo - Three Ways

New Orleans Inspired Gumbo As a follow-up to one of my latest pieces on Shrimp, I must share some Gumbo recipes from our friends in New Orleans. Gumbo is a great recipe in which to enjoy shrimp.    The first two...

New Orleans Inspired Gumbo
New Orleans Inspired Gumbo

As a follow-up to one of my latest pieces on Shrimp, I must share some Gumbo recipes from our friends in New Orleans. Gumbo is a great recipe in which to enjoy shrimp.    The first two recipes lead with Shrimp, but the third makes a substitution with chicken!  I hope you take some time to create one of these Gumbos.

 There are many similarities in Gumbo recipes.  Almost all start with the important roux, one of the secret foundations of cooking.  I do remember my father once watching carefully my roux and insisting that it was a nutty brown color.  He knew that if you took too much risk you could burn this flavor foundation.   I have yet to burn a roux and I have come to appreciate this patience of this process.  Every good cook has more flour and butter or oil!

 Another way to layer flavor has been to brown the sausage, and allowing these extra brown bits or “fond” to create more flavor in the roux   The browned sausage adds more flavor too   In the culinary arts, there's pretty much a word for everything, even the little roasty bits left at the bottom of a pan where something has been cooked.  Fond (pronounced "fahn"), from the French word for "bottom," is the word for those little roasty bits.  Here’s to maximizing flavor in your cooking!

Shrimp Gumbo
Shrimp Gumbo

Ezekiel’s Shrimp Gumbo

– Originally published in The Atlanta Journal - Constitution

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped with extra held for garnish
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups okra, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt
  • 4 cups hot cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat.  Slowly stir in the flour.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is a dark brown, taking care not to burn.  This process should take about 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, celery, garlic and parsley to the roux.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly stir in the stock, then add the okra, and black pepper as well as the Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.  Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp, simmer for 3 – 5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink and opaque.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and Tabasco sauce.
  5. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh parsley.
  6. Also serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Okra as a secret ingredient of Gumbo
Okra as a secret ingredient of Gumbo

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo

– originated from a hand-written note card.  Author unknown.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 green and 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • ½ - ¾ pound of okra, cut in ½ slices
  • 2 -3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock heated until hot
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2– 3 bay leaves, fresh if available
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Cooked white rice
  • File´ powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven.  Once browned, remove.
  2. Create the roux by melting the butter in the same Dutch oven.
  3. Whisk in flour and cook over medium heat until foaming.
  4. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until nut brown in color, about 30 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the roux.
  5. Add the peppers, onions, okra, and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender about 10 – 12 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the hot stock and all remaining ingredients except for the shrimp.
  7. Simmer about 45 minutes, skimming any fat as necessary.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  9. Add shrimp and simmer until the shrimp turns pink.
  10. Serve over rice.  Add a little of file´ powder if desired.
  11. Serve with some crusty bread.

Momma Rochelle’s Gumbo

– From Food and Wine – November 2011

Bowl of Gumbo
Bowl of Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup canola oil, divided
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped ( I would opt for red peppers over green)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 ½ cups of Chicken or Vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf ( I would opt for 2 -3 and use fresh if I could find these at my specialty store)
  • 1 ½ pounds Andouille sausage, or a spicy kielbasa sausage
  • ½ pound okra, thinly sliced
  • Salt and fresh ground Black pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Prepared white rice and hot sauce for serving

Directions:

  1.  In a large stock pot, or Dutch oven, add  about a tablespoon of oil and brown the sausage as a first step.  Once the sausage is browned, remove and continue to make the roux in this pot with all the browned bits from the browning of the sausage to add yet another layer of flavor.
  2. Then, combine the remaining oil and flour and cook over moderate high heat stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion, celery, peppers and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add back in the browned sausage and okra and simmer over low heat until the okra is broken down and the gumbo has started to thicken, about 2 hours.
  7. Check the seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Remove bay leaves.
  9. Preheat a gas grill or light a charcoal grill to prepare the chicken.
  10. Brush the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  11. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through for about 10 minutes.
  12. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice these breasts as toppings to this Gumbo.
  13. Spoon the Gumbo into shallow bowls over a bed of prepared rice.  Top with chicken and scallion onions
  14. Serve with some crusty bread and a great bottle of wine.

The Gumbo without the chicken can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight

What is your favorite Gumbo recipe and secret?