Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A championship gumbo

For Monday night's BCS national championship game, I whipped up a seafood gumbo. You will see me write about many gumbos and stews in this space, to be sure, but this recipe is definitely a good place for me to start those musings.

What you’ll need:
1 cup, plus three tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil (either way, you’re all good)
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
2, eight-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
About 2 cups of sliced okra
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
6, 8-ounce cans of clam juice
1 ½ pounds of peeled fresh shrimp
1 pint of oysters (you can omit this if they make you squeamish)
1 pound of jumbo lump crabmeat
1 cup all purpose flour
steamed white rice

What you’ll do:
1. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a stockpot, then add the onions and celery. Saute the vegetables until they are tender.
2. Add tomatoes and okra and simmer until the liquid has cooked down. Then, season with salt, peppers and bay leaves before adding the clam juice. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer before adding the shrimp, oysters and crabmeat. Simmer about ten minutes.
3. While the gumbo simmers, add the remaining oil and flour to a pan (This would be what they call the roux), whisking until smooth. Continue to whisk the mixture until the roux is chocolate brown. Be careful not to let this mixture stick and burn, because if you do, you will have to throw it out and start all over again and that would suck. Let it cool a little bit.
4. Stir the roux into the gumbo a little at a time (Caution: If you do too much, too fast, it will pop and sizzle all over the place). When all of the roux has been mixed in, let the gumbo simmer about ten minutes more, until it is thicker.
Remove the bay leaves, then serve in bowls with steamed long grain rice.

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