A glorious gumbo is southern comfort food at its best. This one features shrimp, scallops, crab, andouille sausage and okra in a nourishing and soul-warming shrimp stock. The shrimp and scallops are seared before added to the stock and the okra sautéed in a hot skillet to lose most of its “ropey” texture. I hope you’ll love it. (Serves 6)
• Peanut or vegetable oil
• Reserved raw shells, tails and heads from shrimp (see seafood preparation)
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 Turkish bay leaf
• 6 cups water
• ¾ cup dry white wine
In a large sauce pan, heat 2 T oil to hot and sauté shrimp shells, carrot, celery and onion for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add bay leaf, water and white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook at medium heat for 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids.
While stock is simmering, prepare the following:
• ½ lb andouille sausage* cut into thin slices
• 1 large onion, finely dice
• 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
• 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
• ½ cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• 1 t fresh thyme, chopped
• ¼ t cayenne pepper
Brown andouille in a lightly oiled large skillet. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Heat 2 T oil in skillet and add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, thyme and cayenne pepper and cook until soft. Set aside to be added to roux.
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup flour
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven make a roux. Melt butter and gradually add flour stirring until a rich caramel color is reached. Gently add the vegetable mixture. Cook for another 3 minutes. Bring shrimp stock to a boil. Gradually whisk cups into the roux mixture. Bring back to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.
• 1 lb. large shrimp, cleaned. Reserve shells, tails and heads. (If possible, buy shrimp with the heads on.)
• 6 large sea scallops, muscles removed, cut in half horizontally
• 6 oz. lump crabmeat
Wipe out the large skillet and add 2 T oil. Heat to almost smoking. Add scallops seasoned with salt and pepper. Sear about 1 minute on each side. Remove and set aside. Add more oil if necessary to sauté shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper. Sauté until just pink, about 3 minutes. Set aside with scallops.
• ½ lb. okra cut into 1/4 –inch slices
In a dry skillet, sauté okra over medium high heat, turning frequently until they lose most of the liquid and begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch it. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet.
• Optional: up to 1 ½ t file powder**
• 2 T chopped green onion
Add andouille, okra, scallops, shrimp and crabmeat to shrimp stock. Stir to combine. If additional thickening is desired, take off heat and add file powder accordingly, stirring constantly. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve in large bowls or soup plates over hot white rice.
*andouille—a spicy smoked sausage found in some supermarkets, specialty markets and online.
**file powder—ground dried leaves of the sassafras tree used to thicken and flavor Creole dishes; available in the spice or gourmet section of most large supermarkets.
Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm