Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo with Microwave Roux

A gumbo made with a dark roux, a rich shrimp stock, the Trinity of vegetables, okra, shrimp and andouille sausage.

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Yes, it's another shrimp gumbo, but... what sets this one apart is that it was a "hurry up" gumbo, made with my microwave roux - pushed just a little bit further than usual - and pretty much, mostly ingredients that were straight out of the freezer!
  • The shrimp were frozen.
  • The shrimp stock I had made and put up in the freezer. You can also substitute commercial seafood or chicken broth, of course.
  • Smoked sausage is also a freezer staple I always have on hand and can be quickly thawed in the microwave.
  • I had even actually run completely out of onion when I decided to make this gumbo - can you imagine? No worries. I always keep extra chopped onion in the freezer.
Tip: When a recipe calls for chopped onion, go ahead and chop the entire onion and bag what you don't use in a zippered freezer bag. Same with the bell pepper. Didn't have any fresh, but I try to keep quartered bell pepper in the freezer - problem solved. And, of course, the okra was also frozen.

Y'all, I promise, utilize your freezer and a microwave roux, and this is a gumbo that you can actually pull together in a flash, even on a weeknight. Gotta love that.

Update: Y'all. I found this fantastic product called C'est Tout Dried Trinity (#ad)  Yes! It's a shelf stable, dried trinity! I tried it and I loved it, so it's a nice thing to have on hand seeing as we use the trinity in so much of our cooking here in the Deep South. Check it out! 
Just a quick reminder.... if you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, photos, tips and such on a blog, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
Now... y'all know that I am typically a low and slow kinda southern cook, but I wanted to post this to show you that you can actually get a beautiful gumbo on the table with a smaller time investment. Not counting the time to clean the shrimp, which I did, and often do ahead before freezing, between prep time and cooking time, start to finish, this gumbo was ready to eat in under an hour.

You could potentially cut that down further by using frozen, cleaned shrimp and by prepping the ingredients and veggies ahead of time, or by using the pre-chopped gumbo mix from the produce section of your store - Guidry's is a popular one around here. And, not only that, but this really is a delicious gumbo that I'm gonna bet will take you by surprise.

I only issue one very strong caution. 

Remember, whether done on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave, roux is a mixture of very hot oil and flour. Hot like lava hot.

Use a good solid, and reliable glass container, like a Pyrex brand 4-cup Prepware cup (#ad) (that's what I use) to cook it in when making in the microwave, and use pot holders and oven mitts to handle the hot container for the stirring portion of the process.

Please read over my entire microwave roux post before starting just so you know how to do it and, if you decide to give it a try, I'd love if you'd come back and let me know what you think - good or bad!

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning: I do want to say one important thing about roux, that I've repeated on all of my gumbo posts. Roux can be brought anywhere from very blonde, to light tan for gravies, to peanut butter colored, or more ruddy, like a copper penny, to chocolaty brown, to deep brown, to nearly black - or anywhere in between. Bottom line is that it's really a personal preference and don't let anybody tell you that a gumbo roux has to be nearly black. That's just simply not true. While some chefs may do that, I don't know anybody who does that in a home kitchen.
  • For one, it weakens the thickening power of your roux substantially and makes for a very thin gumbo.
  • For another, it's very robust and very strong flavored.
  • For another, it can take a very long time and is easy to burn if you try to rush it with high heat.
If you like that kind of bold (or if you're cooking something like wild duck), by all means, take it super dark. Most folks I know don't want that flavor for a simple chicken or seafood gumbo and take the roux from peanut butter colored to a slightly darker brown.

While we are here let me add, if you're gonna put crab in your seafood gumbo, and you want to call it authentic to the Gulf Coast region, it's blue crab. Not snow crab. And, we cook raw, preferably fresh from the Gulf shrimp in our gumbo - not already cooked boiled shrimp.

As always with any gumbo, as delicious as it is day 1, it's even better the next day, so make it ahead whenever you can.

Let's make some gumbo y'all!

Important: Please review the cautions and directions on my microwave roux post before starting.

Combine the oil and flour in a large, 4 cup or larger, Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup - or other safe, high heat glass pot. Whisk together until smooth and microwave on high for 3 minutes; remove and stir.

Microwave another 3 minutes; remove and stir, continuing this process in 30 second increments until the roux reaches a caramel color, stopping and stirring several times in between. Total time will actually depend on your microwave wattage, but generally it takes about 10 minutes to get to this point.

Peel and devein shrimp; hold in refrigerator.

Carefully transfer the roux to a large, heavy bottomed pot, and heat over medium high. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring constantly until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic; cook another minute.

Slowly stir in the shrimp stock until fully incorporated.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, Creole or Cajun seasoning and thyme.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to just under medium, and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, if adding sausage, add the 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil to a separate skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. 

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Transfer to gumbo pot.

To the drippings in skillet, add the okra; cook and stir until lightly browned. 

Transfer to gumbo pot, add shrimp to gumbo pot, bring to a near boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with a scoop of gumbo potato salad and/or hot steamed rice, hot French rolls and pass a bottle of hot sauce at the table for some extra kick. 

For more of my favorite gumbo recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

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Posted by on March 2, 2011
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