Feb 042011
 

With the weather being so cold, it is snowing here in Arkansas as I write this, Gumbo is a perfect cold weather dish. There is no one way to make Gumbo. Just like Jambalaya, Gumbo can be made up of almost any ingredients. There are two different ways to thicken Gumbo, Okra or File. So keeping with my Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo theme, this gumbo is thickened with File. File is ground Sassafras leaves. File is best added at the end of cooking or as I have in this recipe, passed aroung the table so everyone can add as much as they want.

Seafood Gumbo
¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
¾ Cup Flour
2 Cups Chopped Onions
1 Cup Chopped Green Bell Peppers
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
5 Bay Leaves
8 Cups Shrimp Stock or Water, cool
6 Gumbo Crabs, broken in half
1 Pound Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Pound  Crabmeat (Lump or Claw)
2 Dozen Shucked Oysters
¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
Cooked Rice
File Powder
Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron pot over medium heat. Stirring slowly and consistently for 20 to 25 minutes, making a dark roux, the color of chocolate. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.  Lower heat to low. Add shrimp stock or water and stir to blend. Add the crabs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 1 ½ hours.  Add the shrimp and crabmeat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the oysters, green onions and parsley and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters curl. Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over rice and pass the File powder at the table.