My husband’s family is from New Orleans so they get all the credit for introducing me to the unique and flavorful cuisine of The Big Easy. From jambalaya to crawfish etouffee to seafood gumbo…many new dishes have been added to my list of “favorites” since my first visit to New Orleans almost 15 years ago. And even though beignets are basically deep-fried white flour treats, they certainly make my list of favorites as well.
Today I want to share a family recipe that came from my husband’s Aunt Vicki. It was introduced to us as a “seafood gumbo,” but what I’ve learned over the years is that this dish can easily be an “anything gumbo” instead. What that means is don’t go out and buy a bunch of new ingredients to make gumbo…instead try to use some of what you already have on hand. If you don’t have shrimp and crab well then throw in some leftover Thanksgiving turkey (if you still have some in the freezer like us). And if you don’t like bell peppers then just add more celery instead. My favorite dishes are the ones that are flexible so use this recipe as a guide and don’t be afraid to get creative. As long as you start with the suggested roux (butter and whole-wheat flour) it’s pretty hard to mess up.
- ⅔ cup butter
- ⅔ cup whole-wheat flour
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 – 10 oz can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice
- 2 cups chicken broth/stock
- 1 cup flat beer (optional – can sub more stock instead)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Pinch of dried thyme
- ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ lb raw shrimp, peeled
- ½ lb cooked crabmeat, shredded
- ½ pound sausage (andouille or other variety), browned and sliced or crumbled
- Brown rice, cooked
- Filé powder and hot sauce, for serving (optional)
- Add butter to large soup pot over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk together thoroughly. Keep whisking steadily over medium heat until mixture browns (about 10 – 15 minutes). This technique is called “making a roux.”
- Dump diced veggies, onion, and garlic into pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add stewed tomatoes with juice, stir once, and cover. Stir 3 – 4 times over next 15 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, 1 cup water, and 1 cup beer. Add all spices, stir once, and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes.
- Add cooked sausage and seafood and cook on medium heat until shrimp is done all the way through.
- Serve over brown rice and sprinkle filé powder on top (optional). Provide hot sauce if desired.
And don't forget to freeze the leftovers!