Giddy's Cajun Gumbo
Why I Love This Recipe
As a true southern woman, I identify with all southern cuisines! Tex-Mex to Coonass, I claim it all. Cajun is my favorite! This is my Gumbo recipe that I have been perfecting for years. True Cajuns would say that it isn't a gumbo if it doesn't start with a roux, I say "pfffffsssshh, taste it!"
Ingredients You'll Need
**IYHI=If you have it. Don't fret if you don't have every ingredient, some things are not available when God places you above the Mason Dixon line.
-Shells from 2 lbs of shrimp
-4 onions, quartered
-1/2 bunch celery
-2 bay leaves
-3 cloves garlic
-2 sprigs fresh parsley or dried
-10 whole cloves
-1 Tbls. ground black pepper
-1 Tbls. dried basil
-2 tsps. dried thyme
-1 Whole chicken, cut up (you don't have to use a whole chicken, but the bones and dark meat add tons of flavor)
-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
-1/2 teaspoon white pepper (IYHI)
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 bay leaf, crushed
-1 Tbls. salt
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 bunch celery, chopped
-2 cups chopped onions
-2 cups chopped green bell peppers
-1 Tbls. minced garlic
-1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
-1/2 bottle Duck Butter Hot Pepper Sauce (IYHI)
If you're good I'll get you some for Christmas, if I've died here is the link to buy your own...
-1 lb sliced okra (if frozen thawed)
-1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
-Shredded chicken from whole chicken
-1 cup crabmeat (if you want)
-1 lb cooked and peeled crawfish tail (if you want)
-2 lbs peeled & deveined shrimp (I like jumbo shrimp cuz I'm such a show off. I want people to say "Da'yam! Look at da size a dem shrimps! Das what I'm talkin'about! She ain't playin'")
-Louisiana Hot Sauce
-2 cups uncooked rice
-1/2 stick of butter & salt
-Hot French Bread & Butter
Corn starch**if you prefer it thicker
HOW TO MAKE THE STOCK
-Put all the shrimp shells on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are pink and feel dry.
-Put everything into an 8-quart pot and bring to a boil. Add your shrimp shells to the pot as soon as they're done.
- When your chicken is done and cooled, pull it off the bones and stick it in the fridge, but stick the bones back in the stock.
-Cover & Simmer for 5 hours if you have the time. I like to cook mine all day and let it sit in the fridge over night, but you don't have to.
-Strain everything. I squeeze all the liquid from the vegetables too because it adds so much flavor, but you don't have to) I squeezed by hand or you can use a cheese cloth or a food mill or mash them with a spoon then discard all solids. This step will make the difference in how rich your stock is.
1. Combine the cayenne, white and black peppers, paprika, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and salt in small bowl.
2. In a large heavy pot or a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until hot.
3. Add the holy trinity (onions, celery, and green bell peppers) and cook on high until the onions turn clear.
4. Turn heat down to medium low.
5. Add garlic, **file powder, and the pepper-herb mixture.
6. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Add tomato sauce and stock, bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes covered, stirring occasionally.
9. Add okra and sausage and simmer for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
(note: if it seems too watery I add a tablespoon or two of corn starch to a cup of cold water, stir it well and add that to your boiling gumbo to get it to a consistency that you like. I like the liquid to cling to the spoon when you turn it sideways. Add a little at a time stirring the whole time. Your gumbo should be a rich dark brown!
10. When all that comes together, turn off the heat and add all the shredded chicken & seafood. Cover and let that stand for 10 minutes or until the shrimp in done.
I usually make 4 cups of cooked rice with the reserved stock I made for the gumbo. (If you want less just make 1 cup rice to 2 cups stock)
If you had enough stock to reserve for your rice use it in place of water. If you don't here are a couple of options to add flavor to your rice.
-Make your rice according to packages directions but use CHICKEN or SEAFOOD STOCK instead of water and add a HEAPING SPOONFUL OF BUTTER. (You can always use half stock, half water.)
CRAB BOIL RICE
-Boil 5 cups water with one Zatarains Crab Boil Seasoning Bag for about 10 minutes, covered. Measure 4 cups and pour out the rest. (I use 5 cups because some evaporates.) in a pot with a tight fitting lid, bring to a boil, add salt and butter and rice. Cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
If I'm feeling fancy, I pack the rice in a teacup and put it in the bowl then ladle the gumbo around it. Daddy loves it when I'm fancy.
I always serve this with hot crunchy French bread with lots of butter and a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce within arms reach.