Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seafood Gumbo

I know, it's a tragedy that I am 28 years old, from South Louisiana and before today I had never cooked a seafood gumbo. Sure I ate plenty, but never cooked myself! Seafood gumbo can be hard on the pocketbook, so I always cooked chicken and sausage gumbo. Today I decided to change that and started looking through my cookbooks for the recipe to try. This recipe came out of the Best of the Best of Louisiana cookbook and was submitted by River Roads Recipes II.

For those that don't know, The Best of the Best of Louisiana cookbook is a compilation of all of the very best recipes of the "Louisiana style" cookbooks. So I knew this would be good! If you are ever looking for a good cookbook, this is THE one to get! Here is the recipe:

Seafood Gumbo

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-pound) can tomatoes, undrained
1.5 pounds frozen okra or equivalent fresh
Oil for frying okra
2 quarts hot water
3.5 tablespoons salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 large bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
8-10 allspice berries
Few grains chile pepper
2 pounds headless raw shrimp, peeled
1 pound claw crabmeat, picked
1 pint oysters
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Make a very dark roux with oil and flour in a large heavy pot. Add onion and garlic. Cook slowly until onions are transparent. Add tomatoes, and cook on low heat until oil rises to the top (about 30 minutes), stirring frequently. In separate skillet, fry okra in oil on moderately high heat, stirring constantly until okra is no longer stringy. Add the okra to the other mixture, stir and simmer about 10 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes. Add other seasonings and simmer an additional 20 minutes, then add the shrimp and simmer 15 minutes; then add crabmeat, simmering 15 minutes more. Add the oysters the last 5 minutes of cooking. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more if necessary. Remove from fire and stir in green onions and parsely. Serve over rice. Variations may be made by adding different seafoods, sausages, or poultry. Serves 8-10.
River Road Recipes II

The Verdict: For the tomatoes I used 2 cans original Rotel tomatoes. It gave it a little extra kick. I also used 1 quart chicken broth in place of 1 of the quarts of water. It made it a bit thicker and a little richer I think, which I really liked. However, next time I would use the low-sodium variety of chicken broth because it made the gumbo a little salty. Still delicious though! I will definitely be making this again! James loved it as well :) This definitely gets two thumbs up!

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