Probably south Louisiana’s most famous dish, seafood gumbo or creole gumbo. There are almost as many recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in south Louisiana. Gumbo is often made with leftovers or whatever is on hand in the kitchen; chicken, sausage, shrimp or any combination of seafoods. The following recipe has been used for years by Jeri’s Catering Services and is a favorite of friends and family. It may be made with file powder or okra as a thickener, or you may use both. Just remember to put the file into the gumbo at the last minute of cooking. Boiling the gumbo after the file has been added will cause the gumbo to turn out stringy.
1 package of chicken parts or 1 whole chicken
1 rib celery, cut into chunks
2 whole green onions
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green onions (reserve some for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 pound fresh sliced okra (may use frozen)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or dash of hot sauce (to taste)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound of crabmeat
1 pound of shrimp
1 tablespoon file powder
freshly made fluffy white rice
Place chicken, water, celery, onions, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until chicken is tender, about 30 – 45 minutes.
While chicken is cooking, make the roux. Slowly brown the flour in the oil in a heavy saucepan over a low heat.Stir continually until the flour becomes a dark rich brown. This should take about 30 minutes.
Remove chicken form pot and set aside to cool. Strain the hot chicken broth and taste for seasoning. If necessary, add powdered chicken bullion to the broth to make it stronger. Add the strained broth to the roux while stirring with a wooden spoon.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion, bell pepper, celery, green onions and garlic in 2 tbls butter or oil until they are soft but not brown. Add to the roux mixture. add parsley. Stir constantly until smooth and boiling. Add okra, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire and taste for seasoning. Cook slowly for 30 minutes.
While gumbo cooks, debone and dice the chicken. Add chicken to gumbo and cook for 15 minutes. Add the crab and shrimp and cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is done. If you add oysters to the gumbo, add last and cook until they crinkle. Remove form heat. Carefully sprinlkle in file, stirring gently to prevent file form lumping.
Place rice in individual bowls and top with gumbo. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Serves 10 to 12
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