seafood gumbo

Posted: November 7, 2013 in seafood
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”
― Mark Twain

New Orleans might be my favorite city in the United States, up there with New York City, though they’re two completely different beasts. I first visited New Orleans during spring break of my freshman year with my three best friends from college  since one of them is a New Orleans native who was willing to give us the N.O. experience. I fell in love with the city immediately. I’m sure there are essays upon essays written about this, but New Orleans has an energy about it that most other cities lack. Maybe it’s the voodoo or the rows of palm readers in the main square, but when you walk through the French Quarter, you feel as though there are spirits dancing along to the brass bands with you, as you chew on your too-sweet pralines, avoiding the statue actors. New Orleans reminded me of what I love most about Manila: the generous spirit, the beat, the warmth. Whenever I’m there, I always feel like I’m in the belly of the Big Friendly Giant while it’s dancing and hungry, a belly rumbling loudly.

After every visit to New Orleans, I crave two things: beignets from Cafe du Monde and seafood gumbo from everywhere else. So yesterday, I sat for a half hour looking for recipes without andouille sausage and watching the Bobby Flay throwdown to learn how to make seafood gumbo (I’ll admit that I was tired when I did this and didn’t understand until halfway through the youtube that Bobby Flay was making a dish separately from the woman in the brick kitchen).  I made this recipe and am happy with it. Like most stews, it tastes better when you’ve allowed it to sit for a few hours, to let all the taste come together.

gumbo

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup flour
2 chopped onions
3 chopped celery stalks
1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes
1 quart (four cups) chicken or vegetable stock
1 chopped yellow bell pepper
2 cans of crabmeat
1 pound of uncooked shelled shrimp
2 cups of chopped okra
handful of cornmeal
2 bay leaves
handful of thyme

1. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Stir flour in and keep stirring until it turns into a dark caramel color. Add onions and stir them together until they start to sweat. Add celery, tomatoes, and stock, and bell pepper. 

2. Coat okra in cornmeal, and fry until the outsides turn golden brown. This ensures that they don’t become slimy in the gumbo. Add them to the Dutch oven mix, and stir in until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add bay leaves and thyme, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.

3. Add shrimp, crabmeat. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve over white rice.

1 quart (four cups)

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