I’m constantly surprised by how many folks assume that gumbo is difficult to make. While it’s true that it takes a (little) bit of practice to master roux, and to control its color to your liking, we’re talking about a little flour and oil in a skillet. Heat it up. Move it around the pan, and don’t let it burn. It’s downhill from there. If you can scramble eggs, then you can make a respectable roux. This recipe is perfect for the gumbo novice, and it’s smoky good.
Now that it’s getting darker outside, and the temperature is dropping, it’s soup time in my house. I clear away the household fragments that have piled around the fireplace over the summer. I start a fire and sit before it with my cup of gumbo. It’s my fall/winter meditation, being before the fire, slurping spoonfuls of gumbo, and warming by bones and my soul. Yes, it’s time for some gumbo.
Recipe: Smoky Shrimp Gumbo
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unbleached flour
1 quart seafood stock
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon gumbo file powder
½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1-pound package large, frozen shrimp (cleaned and deveined)
- Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy pan, such as a cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle flour into skillet and immediately begin stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula. Stir constantly until flour is chestnut brown. The consistently of the flour and oil should be similar to paste. Turn heat off and transfer roux to soup pot.
- Pour seafood stock into soup pot and bring to boiling. Immediately lower heat and simmer the stock and roux, stirring to thin the roux.
- Add celery, green pepper, onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and file powder.
- Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid begins to thicken.
- Add Liquid Smoke and frozen shrimp and cook for three additional minutes, or until shrimp turns pink and begins to curl.
- Serve hot with rice.