Gumbo is one of my favorite dishes. I had a lot of it growing up. I absolutely love New Orleans and its cuisine. I met my husband in that city. 🙂
Anyway, I have had a gumbo craving recently, so I decided to do something about it. I chose a classic version, just shrimp and andouille sausage. I found the recipe in a mysterious cooking magazine, America’s Test Kitchen. I call it mysterious because it just showed up in my mailbox one day. I don’t have a subscription, and I only got one issue. I have no idea where it came from, but I quite like it, so no complaints. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!
1 1/2 pounds small shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced thin
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
4 scallions, sliced thin
Fresh cracked black pepper
Bring the reserved shrimp shells and 4 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepot over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock and add the clam juice and the 3 1/2 cups of water. You’ll have 2 quarts of homemade stock. Discard the shells and set aside.
Make the roux: in a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Work out any lumps. Stir for 20 minutes, until the roux is a dark brown color like peanut butter. If it smokes, turn off the heat until it stops, then turn the heat back on. Don’t stop stirring. The roux is the hardest part to make because you can’t cheat. You must stir continually for 20 minutes.
Now add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 9 to 10 minutes. Add 1 quart of the reserved stock in a slow, steady stream, stirring. Stir in the remaining stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the bay leaves, and simmer uncovered for about thirty minutes.
Stir in the sausage. Continue simmering for another thirty minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes longer, until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Take it off the heat, then stir in the parsley and scallions. Adjust the seasonings. Serve over cooked white rice.
I thought this needed some good old Cajun heat when I tasted it for seasoning at the end, so I added more cayenne and some Louisiana hot sauce.