The Recipes

Seafood Gumbo

Well, I promised some New Orleans cooking, and thanks to the wonderful cooking class I took at The New Orleans School of Cooking & General Store, here is the first of the dishes:

Seafood & Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. oil (not olive oil)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 small bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped, or 1 handful of dried garlic slices
- 1 link andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 fillet of flaky white fish
- 4-5 shrimp
- 4 c. chicken or seafood stock
- Healthy palmful of your favorite Cajun seasoning blend
- 1/4 c. cooked rice per serving; optional

Chop your vegetables and add them to the bottom of a large soup pot.

In a large skillet heat the oil until it is almost smoking.  With a whisk in one hand, quickly whisk the oil and add the flour.  You are making a roux, and it is the crucial part of developing the flavor of this soup.  As the flour cooks, it will develop a lovely, dark brown color.  Over high heat, this should take approximately 10 minutes.  DO NOT WALK AWAY.  You must constantly whisk the roux to make sure the flour doesn't burn.

Add the hot roux to the soup pot and stir to combine over medium heat.  Allow the vegetables to sweat for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly.  If you are using fresh garlic, add it now.  Continue cooking the vegetables until they are tender, approximately another 5-6 minutes.  Add the sausage to the pot and season with your choice of seasoning.  I used the awesome blend I picked up at the NOLA School of Cooking, but feel free to use whatever blend you like.  If you are using the dried garlic, add it now.  I was skeptical of the dried garlic, but it comes out amazingly tender and is a great addition to the soup.  Add the stock and allow to simmer for an hour or longer.  Add the seafood in the last 5 minutes of cooking; it will cook very quickly in the hot soup. 

Ladle the soup into bowls.  If you prefer a thicker gumbo, add a sprinkling of file at this point.  If not, no big deal!  Today,  I wanted a looser gumbo, so I left it out... today.  Add a scoop of cooked rice in the center of the bowl if you prefer. 

If there's one thing I learned at my class in NOLA, it is that this style of cooking is very much up to you:  use what you like!