Jumbo Gumbo



Posted on June 21, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 12 at 11:19 AM


1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, coarsely diced
4 ribs of celery, medium diced
1 small green bell pepper, medium diced
1/2 bunch parsley, minced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage or andouille, thinly diced
2 large Portabella mushrooms, medium diced
24-ounce can Rotels with Chilies
1 large bag assorted seafood mix, about 3 pounds
10 cups chicken stock, more if needed
2 tablespoons Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
3 fresh green bay leaves
2-3 cups instant rice
File, if desired
1 box multigrain crackers
1 tub soft-spread butter
Thinly sliced green onions for garnish
2 pounds pre-breaded okra
Vegetable oil for frying

As is the case for most things we cook in Louisiana. . .”First you make a roux!”

So. . .in a heavy-bottomed stock or gumbo pot, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high flame and quickly whisk in the flour, breaking up all the clusters as they settle on the bottom of the pot.  Note that until the flour turns a rich brown, don’t ever stop whisking!  To do so will cause the roux to burn; then you’d have to start all over again.

When the roux reaches the color you desire, immediately take the pot off the fire and drop in the onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, and garlic. 

Stir them completely and evenly into the roux.  The seasoning veggies will now cook from the residual heat. 

More importantly, however, they will cause the temperature of the roux to drop considerably, thereby stopping it from browning any further. 

Now set the gumbo pot off to the side for a while.

In the interim, heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over high heat. 

Then pour in the olive oil and sauté the sausage or andouille along with the diced Portabellas until they both begin to brown. 

At this point, it’s time to put the gumbo pot back on the fire—medium-high will do nicely—and stir in the sausage, mushrooms, and the Rotels.  Be certain you combine all the ingredients well. 

Then when the mixture is evenly blended, drop in the seafood. . .and toss everything until every item is coated with the roux base.

This is when the chicken stock, seafood seasoning, and bay leaves enter the pot.  All it is now is a matter of stirring, folding, and tossing everything over and over again until the combination of ingredients is evenly mixed. 

Note:  If you find that you’ll need extra liquid to make up the gumbo formula, feel free to pour in just enough water or additionally chicken stock to barely cover the ingredients—the seafood items will make additional liquid as they cook and break down. 

Now raise the heat to high and bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.  But immediately turn the fire down to low, place the lid on the pot, and let the gumbo simmer for about an hour or until a rich, semi-thickened stock forms. 

Then when you’re convinced that all the seafood is done and the gumbo stock is perfect, sprinkle in and stir in the instant rice.  Make sure that it all sinks beneath the liquid stock—that’s how it will develop into a “ready-to-spoon-out-into-a-bowl-gumbo!”

All you do now is keep the gumbo at a warm setting on the stovetop until everyone is ready to eat.  Then serve up a heaping helping of it in a big soup bowl or a gumbo crock, alongside a stack of buttered multigrain crackers.  Finish the dish off by sprinkling it with file‌ and garnishing it with the thinly sliced scallions.

Oh—since no gumbo is gumbo without okra, and since this kind of gumbo has no okra in it,  my recommendation is that in order to hold true to tradition you simply put on a pan of hot vegetable oil and semi-deep fry a batch of breaded okra to serve as a side. 

Sure sounds mouthwatering to me!


Chef’s Notes: 
I found the big bag of mixed seafood in the freezer case at one of the popular “shoppers clubs.”  When I asked the market manager about it, he told me they keep it on hand all the time!  Anticipated that question for you ahead of time, didn’t I?

You don’t have to put the rice into the gumbo if you don’t want to.  You can serve it separately like you do with other gumbos.  I put it in whenever I make a batch because the gumbo stock is so rich, the rice soaks it up and makes the dish absolutely tantalizing!

Just for the record, this seafood bag comes complete with chunks of both calamari and octopus.  If you don’t want them in your gumbo, go ahead and batter and deep fry them along with the okra. 

Oh—and just for the record, this gumbo freezes unbelievably well.            So make extra and stash some of it away in the deep freeze for when unexpected company drops by.