I finally found it!
A few weeks ago, Momma called to ask me about Mamaw’s Gumbo. She knew I was frequently on a stool next to the stove watching her make many good things and wondered if I happened to remember the gumbo. I knew it involved a long roux ritual and a can of beer, but that’s all I could really remember. I vaguely remember shrimp, chicken, and sausage, and something from a can—crab meat I’m assuming.
What I do remember is the taste and how many smiles (and people!) that filled her small kitchen. I remember a big pot of rice each time and my grandfather tickling me to get me off the stool so he could get his bowl and belly full of her gumbo.
I have tinkered with a few recipes and I think I finally have it! I made this into a strictly seafood gumbo. I’ll save the chicken and sausage for another time.
It all starts with the roux. This will make or break the whole thing.
Flour and butter or oil. Now, the purists say butter, those who walk on the sidewalks say oil will prevent it from burning so fast. I went with the wild folks and used butter.
Get the flour/butter to a dark brown
I don’t have pics of the next few steps but they’re easy.
Once the roux is dark brown and even getting a little smoke going, quickly throw in the following
- chopped Trinity-peppers, onions, celery. I used stoplight peppers because I needed to use them up.
- frozen chopped okra—frozen is key!
- garlic-however you want it
Stir all this around for about ten minutes. These will keep the roux from burning. Frozen okra will sauté quickly without getting slimy. You don’t want slime right off the bat.
After sautéing the vegetables until they are soft, add
- 1.5 quarts of broth of your choice.
- 1 big can of tomatoes or fresh tomatoes. It really doesn’t matter if whole, chopped, diced, etc.
- Crab boil. I used the bag of spices. Put the whole thing in
- 2 bay leaves
Simmer for 2 hours. Yes…2 hours. The spices need time to get saturated.
After 2 hours, it’s time to add the seafood. It will only cook for about ten minutes, so start the rice at this point as well.
Add any of the following: (I used shrimp, scallops, and crab)
- raw shrimp-tails off!
- raw oysters (ew, I didn’t)
- crab meat—gives the best flavor and I think it’s important.
- raw scallops
- any raw fish-catfish, tilapia, whiting, etc.
- 2 T of Gumbo File’. This will thicken and add another layer of flavor.
AFTER ADDING SEAFOOD, KEEP AT LOW SIMMER—these go in raw, but the heat will cook them quickly and if they continue cooking they will get rubbery.
I made this later at night and was feeling like I was coming down with a cold. I put this outside and let it cool overnight (29* temps)