Gumbo is a slow-simmered stovetop dish, a cross between thick soup and stew, that is traditionally served over plain white rice in Louisiana.
It is a close cousin to the callaloo of Trinidad (usually made with okra and crab or chicken). In some ways it is most like the sauce dishes served
over rice in West Africa, with their combinations of vegetables, a little meat or fish or smoked oysters, and lots of flavorful sauce to help the rice
The word gumbo comes from gombo, a West African word for "okra." A classic gumbo starts with fat (chicken fat, pork lard, or bacon drippings)
and some flour to make a roux. Once the roux has browned, celery, green peppers, and onions are added and cooked (like a Spanish sofrito) until soft.
From there, methods vary. Often, as here, okra is added and slow cooked with very little or no extra liquid until well softened and starting to brown.
If chicken or sausage (andouille) are used, they go in early; when there's only shrimp, as here, it is added near the end of cooking. The dish cooks and
simmers until done, the okra helping to thicken the sauce and the slow-simmering giving the flavors time to blend.
In this shrimp gumbo, the okra is cooked down, then the broth is added and flavored with wine or lemon juice, and the shrimp briefly boil until
cooked. Serve hot over rice.
Serves 6 with Rice
| (CLICK TO BUY)
3 tablespoons chicken fat or bacon fat (or substitute olive oil)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 medium onions, minced
1 green bell pepper, stem, seeds, and membranes discarded, and cut into small dice
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound okra, stems and any tough tips removed, and sliced into 1/4-inch lengths
3 cups mild fish stock or chicken stock or water
1/4 cup dry white wine or fresh lemon juice
1 pound shrimp, peeled or unpeeled, de-veined if you wish
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Generous grinding of black pepper
|In a large heavy pot, heat the fat over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until well browned.
Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring, until well softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cayenne, okra,
and 1/2 cup of the stock or water and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the okra is completely softened
and shapeless, about 30 minutes. If the okra begins to stick before it is completely cooked, add a little more liquid.|
|Add the remaining stock or water a cup at a time, stirring to blend in the okra. Bring to a boil, add the wine or
lemon juice, and simmer for 10 minutes. Bring to a vigorous boil and add the shrimp, parsley, and seasonings. Cook the
shrimp until its color changes completely, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot over rice.|
|Note: This version of gumbo is mildly chile hot. To increase the heat, add 1 or more minced serranos, or increase the cayenne to 1 1/2
teaspoons or more.|
Excerpted from SEDUCTIONS OF RICE copyright © 2003 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.