I was too short to see the stove so my grandmother stood me on a chair to help her make her gumbo. As she made the roux and stirred the trinity, she talked about how the best shrimp came from the Gulf of Mexico. She might have been a little biased since that’s where she grew up. She always referred to her home as “the Gulf Coast”, never “the beach”. I didn’t know what a beach was until I stepped on the sands during my first trip down. Either way, she firmly believed in Gulf Coast shrimp. And since she was always right, I still believe in the freshest seafood not far from where I live today.
Being from Mississippi and living in Alabama, I’ve followed the 2010 oil disaster closely. I’ve watched the news, read the reports, listened to the experts, and formed my own opinions. When it was all said and done, I only hoped the beaches and coastal waters would once again return to their pristine condition and the shrimping and seafood industry return to it’s prime. I had my chance to find out on October 10, 2010 or 10-10-10. In preparation for this return trip to the coast, I knew I had to make my grandmother’s Gulf Coast gumbo.
It tastes even better on the Coast with white sands, clear water, happy heart.
The good thing about gumbo is it’s very forgiving. You can leave out or add to gumbo any variations of vegetables and seafood. What IS important is the Roux. More details on that down the page.
Gulf Coast Gumbo
- You will need a large stock pot, at least 5 quarts.
- Prep time: 15 min.
- Cook time: 2.5 hours including roux.
- Serve over rice.
A roux is a mixture of a fat and flour that is the base and the thickening agent. You have to get the roux thick and dark, but not scorched. The color should be about the color of a penny. This is the most important part of the gumbo.
Let’s get started!
1. Chop the onions, celery, bell pepper. Do this FIRST. When the roux is cooking, you need to be close by to monitor it. Many batches of roux have burned because the cook is chopping veggies.
2. To make the roux, pour 1/2 cup of oil into your stock pot. Turn heat on med-high. Add 1/4 cup of flour. Stir oil and flour constantly until it is dark brown or copper colored, but not scorched.
3. Once the roux is dark enough, reduce heat to med-low and add chopped vegetables.
Stir in quickly. This will stop the roux from burning but will sauté’ veggies as well.
4. Add 1 bag of frozen okra.
5. Add can of whole tomatoes, crab boil pouch, and 2 bay leaves.
7. Put lid on pot, but vent. Simmer on low for 2 hours, stirring every 20 min.
8. While this is cooking, cut sausage,
drain crab, cut tails off shrimp, if needed. 9. After 2 hours, add seafood. It will cook it ten minutes.
10. Add 1 Tablespoon of file’ powder. This is another thickener and another good layer of flavor. Turn off heat.
12. Even better when you’re on the Gulf Coast.
Anybody can make this. Pick some vegetables. Pick your seafood. Use care when making the Roux. But more than the ingredients, its the memories and passion that go into making a family tradition. My grandmother’s childhood home and the beaches of my home and current state are prospering once again.
If you like this, please consider voting for me here —-> VOTE If I advance, next week, I have an AMAZING pizza recipe for Challenge 5. Thank you for reading and voting!