Seafood Gumbo with Potato Salad
This recipe comes straight from the kitchen of Editor Erin Z. Bass, although it’s credited to her husband who’s been perfecting this gumbo over the past several months. If you’re on a budget or prefer one form of seafood over another, feel free to just use shrimp or crab. If you’re a seafood lover, consider adding oysters or chunks of white fish. And if you don’t care for seafood, there’s no reason why this recipe can’t be adapted for chicken and sausage gumbo or even a vegetarian version with cubed tofu. The Cajuns are known for being versatile and using what’s on hand, so feel free to get creative. Just don’t compromise on the roux.
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium bellpeppers, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cups seafood stock
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup lump crabmeat or claw meat
1 cup Louisiana crawfish tails
1 Tbsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
1 cup or more white or brown rice
To make the roux, put a 5-quart Magnalite or stock pot on medium heat. Add canola oil. Bit by bit, stir in the flour until smooth. Begin chopping onion, bellpeppers and celery. Keep your eye on the roux, stirring every few minutes to get cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
When the roux is a light brown or mocha color, you should begin paying constant attention. You’ll want the roux to be dark brown without burning. Stir completely every 30-60 seconds. When the roux is dark brown, about the shade of dark chocolate, put in the chopped vegetables. Mix thoroughly. As vegetables begin to sweat, they will add moisture and the roux will stop cooking, but if you are concerned the roux is darkening too much or if it is very sticky, add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock.
Once the veggies have softened, add *seafood and vegetable stock. Scrape bits from the bottom and side of pot and begin seasoning with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Do not cover the pot.
Start on your potato salad (recipe below) while the gumbo cooks. Your gumbo should simmer for at least an hour, preferably several hours, so flavors will combine and the liquid will thicken. Once the gumbo is to a medium thickness, you can continue to cook with the top on the pot. This is a good time to check the seasoning again. When you’re 30 minutes from eating, start cooking your rice. Add shrimp, crab and crawfish tails and put the gumbo on low after 10 minutes. When the rice is ready, serve gumbo and rice with a side of potato salad (or put a scoop of potato salad on top of your gumbo like many Louisianans tend to do.) Makes 2-3 quarts and serves 5-6.
*One key to this recipe is leftover stock from crawfish season. This adds a good amount of spice, but if you don’t have this in the freezer, use seafood stock and add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper when seasoning.
2-3 lbs. potatoes, peeled
1 small red onion
2 large dill pickles
3 green onions, chopped (green and white sections)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup Creole mustard
Pickle juice to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Place potatoes and eggs in a pot of cold, salted water and heat at medium-high. Chop onion, pickles and green onions. Once a slow boil is going in your pot, cook for 12 minutes, then remove the eggs to cool. Cook the potatoes approximately 5 more minutes until a paring knife can easily pierce them. Drain potatoes into a colander and let cool. Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice and lemon juice. Grate the eggs and add the onion and pickles to the mix. Add the green onion, but reserve a handful. Crumble cooled potatoes by hand into a large bowl and coat with the mayonnaise mixture. Add more mayonnaise if the salad is a bit dry. Salt and pepper liberally to taste and top with remaining green onion. Makes approximately 2 quarts to fill a large serving bowl.