I've been promising/threatening for years to post my gumbo recipe. By my standards, it's a long, complicated recipe. This is not a quick meal. But if you've got a Saturday to spend stirring roux, there's worse things you do with your time.
I usually make gumbo in the summer, when I'm off from school and the okra is fresh at the markets. But if you are craving a memory of summer, this is the soup to get you through the winter months. My version is heavy on veggies and lighter than most recipes. It's not quite broth based, because there is a roux, but just enough to give body and flavor. Because we need to watch carbs at our house, we skip the traditional rice that usually accompanies it. But if you don't have that problem, it goes great poured over white or brown rice.
The part that will tax your patience is the roux. Roux is a paste of cooked flour and fat. Cooked lightly, it's great for sauces. Cooked until brown, it's a base for gravy. Cooked until dark, it's base for gumbo. I'm a bit timid with my roux, since the dividing line between "perfect" and "horribly, horribly burned" is a thin one that jumps quickly. So I cook mine to a nice golden brown.
1 pound spicy sausage links (my preference is hot Italian turkey from Publix, but you can use whatever you prefer)
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup onion, diced small
1 cup bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 cup celery, diced small
1 pound okra, cleaned and sliced
1 14 ounce can of dice tomatoes
7 cups chicken broth
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 teaspoons file powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Lightly coat the bottom of your pot with oil. Fry the sausages until brown, then remove. With a rubber scrapper, dig up all those little brown bits. Leave them in the pot, because they will make everything tasty. Over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of flour. Stir together to remove lumps and continue stirring. Keep stirring. And stirring. How long you stir depends on your patience and willingness to take things to the edge. I keep mine going until it's a rich caramel color. When you've had enough, add the onion, peppers and celery and keep stirring. When those veggies are soft, add the okra, tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer until the veggies are cooked through. Make sure to add salt.
While your soup is simmering, take a skillet. In about a a tablespoon of oil, sauté your shrimp. Give them a good shake of salt and the smoked paprika. I like to cook the shrimp separately so it doesn't overcook.
After the okra s cooked through, add the file powder and sliced sausage. Simmer another minute or two. Check for salt.
Serve gumbo poured over rice, or not and topped with the shrimp.
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