Seafood & Sausage Gumbo
1 pound bacon, chopped
2 sticks of butter
About 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 quarts chicken stock (or fish stock, if you have available)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped
3 pound frozen cut okra (not thawed)
2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 California bay leaf
2 rounded teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
2 pounds andouille sausage (or hot links, if you can’t find andouille)
4 dozen shucked oysters with their liquids (I bought mine in jars)
3 pound medium shrimp in shell
Note: if you’re like my family and Paula Deen who loves sucking on shrimp heads, buy it with the head on.
1. Crisp Bacon, Savage Fat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat until bacon is browned, but not too crisp, about 7 minutes. As the bacon is cooking, meat 2 sticks of butter in a glass measuring cup. Remove bacon and set aside for later. Pour bacon fat into the melted butter. You need 1.5 cups of oil, so if that’s still not enough, add more vegetable oil until it measures to 1.5 cups of oil.
2. Make Roux. Pour the oil into the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour, stirring constantly until browned. This will take about 20-30 minutes so this is the most time consuming part of making gumbo. The roux gives the entire dish its nutty flavor and color, so this is one of the most important steps! I regret not making my roux even darker. Also note, as you continue to stir, the roux becomes pretty watery, so this is completely normal.
3. Add vegetables. Add bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic to the roux. Cook for about 10 minutes and transfer to a 10 quart pot.
4. Add stock and spices. Stir in stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Cook for about 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, add frozen okra to the pot, adding it later in the process ensures that the okra doesn’t turn into mush.
5. Add sausage. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
6. Add seafood and fresh herbs. Add shrimp, let cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add oyster in their liquids, bacon, parsley and scallions. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over white rice.