Monday, October 12, 2009

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Okra

A traditional roux and tomato based gumbo made with shrimp, spicy andouille sausage and okra. Pass hot sauce at the table, add some hot, buttered French bread and a side salad to round it out.

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Okra

Delish. But, admittedly, homemade gumbo can take a bit of time between planning and preparing, though there are ways that you can save some time and make it an easier process when you get in the mood for gumbo. Next time you are chopping an onion, go ahead and chop an extra one or two and bag it in a zipper freezer bag.  When you make rice for one dinner, double up on it and then bag and freeze half. All it needs is a sprinkle of water, cover and microwave to freshen it up. For okra, pre-sliced frozen okra works fantastic.

And if you don't have in-shell shrimp or just don't feel up to making a stock from the shrimp shells, next time you bake a whole chicken, save the carcass and make homemade stock, cool it and bag it in freezer bags by 1 or 2 cup measurements. Chicken stock works great for gumbo, as does plain ole water.

When I do a recipe that requires a caramel or lighter roux, I cook my roux on the stovetop or in the microwave, and that is definitely a time saver. But I like my seafood gumbo to be rich and dark - think Mary Mahoney's or McElroy's if you're from around here - and frankly to accomplish that on the stovetop is just too time consuming for me. Plus I have a short attention span. Plus I always get burned.

One of the biggest time savers I use now for making gumbo is pre-made, refrigerated dark roux - yes, just like you see on the grocery store shelf - and you can certainly use those here too. But I'm talking about making your own dark roux ahead, right in your own kitchen, and then storing it in your fridge. And, get this. You make it in your oven. Yes! It really does work. The oven method works fantastic, you don't have to keep standing over a pot of hot oil and stir your arm off, and you can make up a big batch and store it in your fridge. If you like to make up a pot of gumbo frequently, whether it be seafood or chicken, try the oven method sometime to put up your own roux, you will love it!

Other than The Trinity, I just use a white pepper blend of Cajun seasoning for seasoning this gumbo, and generally nothing else.  My favorite brand is Slap Ya Mama, which comes in regular, white pepper and hot, and if you live locally, is available here at Winn Dixie, Walmart and Rouse's market. The white pepper blend I use here is a blend of salt, white and red pepper and garlic. If you don't have access to that brand, just substitute Zatarain's, or Tony's, or whatever your favorite blend is.

By the way, don't let anybody tell you that you can't make a great and gorgeous gumbo using a cast iron pot. A roux can be tricky if you're only just learning - the cast iron gets very hot, very fast and can burn a dark roux quickly over high temperatures - but, I've seen people online say cast iron will turn your okra gumbo black and that's simply not true. As much as we use cast iron in the Deep South, could you imagine a Louisiana Cajun saying that? Just make sure you don't have your cast iron too hot and that it is well seasoned is all - if it isn't, yeah, you might turn some stuff black! Although I use my not at all fancy, not at all French, enameled cast iron pot the most these days, this gumbo here was made using an old fashioned, campfire-style cast iron Dutch oven.

There are two camps of gumbo - a rich dark roux with no tomatoes, and one that does include tomatoes. I tend to include tomatoes when I make a seafood gumbo, though you can certainly reduce them and even leave them out. And, by the way, I'm not super endeared to a gumbo recipe, so if you try one of mine that you like, save it, because I'm more likely than not to mess with it on down the line. Here's how you can make this shrimp and okra gumbo.

Look at that gorgeous roux! This one was made in the oven, taking away that stand-over, stirring time and producing a wonderful roux. Warm the roux over medium high heat in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven or stockpot, stirring constantly. I used my cast iron Dutch oven.


Add the onion, celery and green pepper to the hot roux, cooking and stirring for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, but leave the burner on. Now I realize that some people think that tomatoes have no place in a gumbo, but I am not one of them. I add them to most of my gumbos pretty much. To me, without the tomatoes it's really more of a shrimp stew. Chop the tomatoes, reserving the liquid.  I use a pair of kitchen shears to chop them up right in the can. Add the tomatoes, with their liquid, to the roux mixture and return pot to heat. Add 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.


Stir in the shrimp stock or chicken broth; return to a boil, reduce heat to just under medium, and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, add the canola oil to a separate skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the gumbo pot. To that same skillet, add the okra; cook and stir until slightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the okra to the gumbo pot; continue simmering.


Add the raw shrimp to the pot and allow it to simmer a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Taste, add salt and pepper, only if needed.


Serve over hot cooked rice and sprinkle individual bowls with gumbo filé, if desired. Pass a bottle of Tabasco for some extra kick and add some hot, buttered French bread or rolls and a side salad.

A beautiful and delicious shrimp and okra gumbo made in a good ole cast iron Dutch oven.

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Recipe: Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Okra

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of medium small raw gumbo shrimp (51/60 to 41/50), peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup of dark roux (see note)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, with liquid, chopped up
  • 1 quart of shrimp stock or chicken stock/broth
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 1/2 pound of of mild andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, chopped
  • 2 cups of sliced okra
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, only to taste
  • Hot sauce, (like Tabasco), for the table, optional
Instructions

Warm the roux over medium high heat in a large heavy bottom pot, stirring constantly. I use my cast iron dutch oven. Add the onion, celery and green pepper to the hot roux, cooking and stirring for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, but leave the burner on.

Chop the tomatoes, reserving the liquid. I use a pair of kitchen shears to chop them up right in the can. Add the tomatoes with their liquid to roux mixture and return pot to heat. Add Cajun seasoning and thyme. Stir in the shrimp stock or chicken broth; return to a boil, reduce heat to just under medium, and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the canola oil to a separate skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the gumbo pot. To that same skillet, add the okra; cook and stir until slightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the okra to the gumbo pot; continue simmering.

Add the raw shrimp to the pot and allow it to simmer a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Taste, add salt and pepper, only if needed, and adjust Cajun seasoning to taste. Serve over hot cooked rice, pass a bottle of hot sauce at the table for some extra kick and add some hot, buttered French bread or rolls and a side salad.

Cook's Notes: Gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, so make it ahead of time if possible. The flavors really need time to settle and mellow. It's always better the next day. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing. Use more roux for a thicker gumbo, or adjust your stock using more for a thinner gumbo; less if you like it thicker. If you don't already have an oven roux made, make a roux by 1 cup of canola oil and 3/4 cup all purpose flour. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until roux reaches a deep, rich color. You can also make a roux using your microwave, or use a commercial product.

I use Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning, either in the traditional blend or the White Pepper Blend, which contains salt, red pepper, white pepper and garlic. Substitute another Cajun or Creole seasoning, or similar ingredients, to taste. Remember, if you are using andouille sausage, go light on any Cajun seasoning. Add a little, taste and adjust. If you are using a regular smoked sausage, you will likely want to use a bit more Cajun seasoning. As always, use a little, taste and adjust. Add 1/2 pound of crab meat to gumbo, if desired. This gumbo is heavy on tomatoes, so feel free to adjust or eliminate them.

Andouille sausage is a highly spiced smoked sausage that is blended with Cajun spices, adding a spicy kick and great flavor to these dishes. If you substitute kielbasa or other smoked sausages in recipes where it calls for Andouille, it will affect the outcome of your dish and you’ll need to make adjustments in the seasonings you use.

Okra and Gumbo filé: Since fresh okra is very seasonal, I often use pre-sliced, frozen okra for gumbo. Gumbo filé, or filé powder, is a seasoning made from ground sassafras leaves and tastes a bit like savory and thyme mixed together. It is often stirred into gumbo at the end of cooking (but never boiled) to act as a thickener as a substitute for okra, or when fresh okra is out of season. Besides thickening, it also imparts a unique flavor to the gumbo, so even when using okra I still like to sprinkle a little into each serving bowl. I don't add it to the full pot since it tends to get stringy in the leftovers.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on October 12, 2009
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11 comments:

  1. where the heck have I been.. I missed so many of these posts, I have still been checking in on My New 30.. Lotsa catching up to do here. I love this new site.. its gorgeous.I'll be sure to grab the button and put this on my blogroll!

    This gumbo sounds incredible and so perfect for this crisp autumn day I am having here in NJ!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Post...

    One week from TODAY, I will be on vacation on New Orleans!!!

    Thanks for wetting my appetite and matbe a recipe to make in a month to remind me

    ReplyDelete
  3. This screams Mississippi! Big AL would love this to be served from my kitchen. I'll have to make his day!

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  4. This looks delicious!

    I am convinced that there is just not enough gumbo in my life after reading this. Making one is a little out of my comfort zone, still. I wish we were neighbors...I'd hit you up for dinner. One day though, I will try. I will make my own dark roux and rock a gumbo. In the meantime, I feel compelled to visit my local Cajun restaurant. I am so craving this now!

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  5. Krista, I guarantee if you try this oven roux, you WILL rock a gumbo, no problem. Just step outside of that comfort zone gal!

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  6. Your gumbo sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

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  7. What an awesome blog. I just found you through I'm Not in Kalamazoo anymore! I signed up for your emails. Thanks! I'm going to try some of your recipes!! It all looks so good!

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  8. My husband and I visited the Gulf in 2010, enjoyed the food! We stumbled upon a Gumbo contest at Dauphin Island, loved it! When we returned to Minnesota I found your web site and this recipe most resembled our favorite from that contest. I've made it several times since then and the family LOVES it! I used your microwave method for the roux - easy and successful every time. Thanks for all of your info and instructions! Mary R, Eagan Minnesota

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary & you're so welcome!! Thank you for taking the time to come back and comment - I really appreciate the feedback. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

      Delete
  9. My roux is in the oven right now and I can't wait! I'm going to try this gumbo recipe in the crockpot today. Thank you for passing it along!!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

    ReplyDelete

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