G has never been someone that does things the easy way. Except perhaps when coaxing friends into assembling furniture or helping him pack for another move. So when it took us 4 hours to make our seafood gumbo. I wasn’t surprised.
This was our second gumbo attempt year to date and we hoped that it would be a success. Our last attempt left us with an awful taste in our mouth, quite literally, from a burnt roux. For those of you who are unsure about what a roux is let me clear it up. Its an oil and flour mixture(usually 1:1) used as a thickening agent and can add a depth of flavor. Yes indeed, its oil and flour that is heated with a watchful eye and wooden spoon in hand until it reaches certain color checkpoints. These checkpoints are based on the type of protein utilized in the gumbo, family recipes and are quite subjective if you ask me. With time the roux progressively gets darker making its way through each checkpoint, blonde, peanut-butter, and chocolate brown. The one roux rule: Do not burn!
We started making a homemade seafood stock from our cleaned shrimp shells, crab claws, crayfish shells and let that sit on low heat for about an hour. While the stock simmered I was responsible for the roux. Since our last attempts failed we decided to heat the oil over low-medium heat for the next hour and a half until it turned into what we deamed an appropriate peanut butter color. Yes. That’s right… I stood at the stove for an hour and a half watching oil and flour in a pan. Sounds fun, I know. I hadn’t watched something this intensely since Michael Jackson passed away.
As our roux cooled, G began frying the andouille, okra, and a New Orleans triad(onion, celery and bell pepper). We drained the shells, onions, celery, etc. from our stock and added it to our triad, andouille, and okra. We added a cup and a half of the roux to our mixture and let it simmer for 45 minutes. After about 40 minutes we plopped in our fresh bay scallops, crab meat, crayfish, and shrimp in. We cooked them for about 10 minutes and then sat down to eat!
The gumbo was tasty with a multitude of different and spicy flavors. The okra was my favorite addition as I feel that it is a vegetable often over looked in homes and restaurants in the midwest. For more information regarding creole and cajun recipes check out the gumbo pages. (I wish we had checked this out before we started!)