A gumbo is a Cajun soup that has a roux as a base and uses file (sassafras leaves) and/or okra as a thickening agent. This dish probably has African origins, as the Bantu word for okra is gumbo! Often served as a main dish, this “soup” may contain chicken, meat, or ham in addition to vegetables, tomatoes, and spices. Serve it with potato salad, sourdough bread, and blackbottom pie for dessert. Note: Gumbo can be prepared ahead of time. Prepare the gumbo up to the point to where the fish is added. Refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.
- 1 pound raw shrimp
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1/2 cup bacon drippings or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound okra, cut crosswise into rounds
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried red chile, seeds included
- 2 teaspoons ground Cayenne
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 pound fish fillets, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1/2 pound lump crabmeat
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Poach the shrimp in the chicken stock until they turn pink, about 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp, save the broth, and shell and devein the shrimp. Keep the shrimp cool until ready to add back into the gumbo.
- Melt the bacon drippings and stir in the flour. Heat the roux, stirring constantly, until it is a very dark brown color, being careful that it does not burn. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and continue to heat for a couple of minutes to soften the vegetables. Remove from the heat so that the roux does not continue to brown.
- Heat the okra and vinegar in the remaining vegetable oil, for 20 minutes or until the okra is no longer stringy, stirring occasionally.
- Reheat the broth to boiling and slowly stir the roux mixture into the liquid. Add the chile, cayenne, okra, tomato, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano. Then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of hours until thick.
- Add the fish and crabmeat and heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the shrimp. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
- To Serve: Place some of the cooked rice in the bottom of a bowl, pour the gumbo over the top, and garnish with the parsley.