Sunday, February 4, 2007

Seafood Gumbo

Shrimp stock:
1 ½ lbs jumbo shrimp, with heads and shells
1 blue crab
1 onion, halved
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 lemons, halved and squeezed

½ c butter
½ c flour
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound okra, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
3 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stem
2 quarts shrimp stock
1 ½ lbs peeled shrimp (reserved from stock)
3 c cooked long-grain white rice
chopped flat-leaf parsley and green onions, for garnish

To make the shrimp stock: Peel the shrimp and toss the heads and shells into a large stock pot; refrigerate the peeled shrimp until ready to cook in the gumbo. Add the crab, onion, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, Old Bay, and lemons to the pot. Cover with 2 ½ quarts of cold water. Allow the liquid to slowly come to a boil, then lower the heat. Gently simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered, skimming any foam that rises to the top. Strain the stock into a heatproof container or another pot to remove the chunky solids; at this point you should have about 2 quarts of broth. Cool until needed.

To make the gumbo: Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven. Just as the foam subsides, add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook the roux until it’s the color of walnut, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and okra. Season with salt, cayenne and Old Bay. Mix in the tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the cooled shrimp stock and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gumbo is dark and thick. Add the shrimp and cook another 15 minutes; adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve atop rice in bowls, and sprinkle with parsley and green onions.

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