Gumbo is one of my all time favorite meals. Born in Louisiana and raised in southeast Texas, Cajun food is a right of passage. While in Louisiana, I was raised by a little Cajun lady who made the best red beans and rice ever! While I don’t have her recipe for red beans and rice, I do have a cookbook from Baton Rouge with a basic gumbo recipe. Of course I made a few tweaks but the instructions for the roux were awesome. I forgot how tough (read time consuming) it is to make a proper roux.
If you don’t have about an hour for the roux alone, don’t try this recipe. Trust me it’s just not the same!
This recipe calls for the Trinity of Cajun cooking: onion, celery and green bell pepper. This veggie mix can be found in most Cajun recipes and the blend makes a great base for many dishes. My husband doesn’t like celery but I never mess with this perfect mix!
Here’s what you need:
Roux: 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of flour
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carton of vegetable, chicken or seafood stock (32 oz.)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 link of Cajun sausage, cooked
2 – 4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 – 3/4 lb. of raw shrimp, peeled
1/2 – 1 tsp. File powder
Brown rice, cooked
- In a large pot over medium heat, add butter. Melt butter stirring continuously.
- Add flour 1 to 2 tbsp. at a time, stirring constantly until all is mixed.
- Continue stirring as the roux gets darker.
- And Stir…and stir…Do not walk away! No part of the roux can burn or the whole thing must be thrown out. Yes, seriously.
- After about an hour and the roux is chocolate brown, add veggies and soften for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add stock, tomatoes, spices (except file powder) and sausage. Bring to a boil and simmer for a half hour.
- Add shrimp and file powder and simmer for at least an additional 20 minutes, an hour is better!