Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shrimp Gumbo

As previously mentioned, I used to work under a boss with Creole ancestry.  I have always enjoyed Creole and Cajun cuisine and I asked him if he had any great recipes to share.  He directed me to a couple of excellent cookbooks and gave me his family recipe for Jambalaya.  One of the cookbooks he recommended is small little paperback called Cajun Cooking by Confident Cooking.  This cookbook assumes you keep chopped Cajun vegetables, roux and a homemade Cajun spice mix on hand.  So, I tried to adapt the recipe for those of us that don't cook Cajun food frequently enough to keep such things readily available.  Also, this recipe calls for file powder.  If you do not live close to Louisiana, this may be a difficult spice to find.  I found it at a specialty grocery store.  This ingredient can be omitted, if necessary.

If you like this recipe, you may also like Jambalaya (EF, DF, GF).

Shrimp Gumbo
Adapted from Cajun Cooking by Confident Cooking

¼ c butter
1 c onion, chopped
1 c bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (1T Celery flakes)*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz package frozen cut okra
1 14½ oz can diced tomatoes
3 T vegetable oil
3 T flour
2 t tomato paste
2 t red chili powder
½  t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t dried thyme
¼ t white pepper
¼ t black pepper
¼ t ground allspice
1/8 t cayenne pepper
Pinch of dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 c seafood or chicken stock
1 ¼ pounds medium shrimp
1 t file powder, optional
Long-grain white rice

Saut√© the onion, bell pepper and celery in butter for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to get tender.  Add garlic, okra and crushed tomatoes in a pan.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, start the rice, according to directions on the package.  Then prepare the roux.  Heat a heavy pan (don’t use nonstick) and add the oil.  When the oil is very hot, remove from heat and sprinkle on the flour.  Wisk briskly using a long-handled whisk.  The mixture should be on a slow boil with tiny bubbles constantly breaking on the surface.  Cook for about 2-5 minutes, returning to heat periodically to keep at the desired temperature.  Whisking must be constant and fast to avoid scorching.  If roux does burn, it will be bitter and unusable.  You can let roux cool slightly until ready to use.

Stir in tomato paste, red chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, allspice, cayenne pepper, oregano, bay leaves, and Worcestershire.  Stir for 2 minutes.  Add stock and roux and cook 15 minutes more.  Add shrimp and simmer gently until just cooked.  Season to taste and stir in the file powder, if using.  Top with a scoop of white rice.

Serves 6

*I really do not care for celery so I use 1 T of celery flakes added at the same time as the other dry spices.

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