Gumbo is a thick soup and usually contains whatever seafood, meat or poultry happens to be on hand. First a roux is made, then the holy trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper is added. The mixture is cooked to blend the flavors, and the beef, poultry or seafood is added along with liquid, and cooked anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the cooking time needed for the main ingredient.
Gumbo is always served with rice, has roux as its base, and may be thickened with filé (a powder which both thickens and adds flavor). Okra is often added, both as a flavor ingredient, and as a thickener.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped green bell pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
- 6 cups cooked white rice (about 2 cups raw rice)
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cups chopped curly parsley
Heat a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When pot has heated, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the flour and cook, whisking almost constantly (that is, about every 15 seconds), for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until roux is medium color--the color of peanut butter.
Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often, for another 10 minutes. Add the salt, the three types of pepper and bay leaves and stir to combine seasonings with the roux.
Add the stock and water. Raise heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium, add the Andouille slices, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp and simmer 5 minutes longer. Serve a scoop of rice on top of each bowl of gumbo, then sprinkle with the green onions and parsley. (Cook rice while the gumbo is simmering for the final 30 minutes.)
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