Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mardi Gras Week - Gumbo

Now that we got the essential King Cake in the bag, it is now time to look at other Creole or Cajun inspired a good gumbo. Besides being fun to say, gumbo is a delicious stew. So what's the difference between a Creole and Cajun gumbo? From what I understand about gumbos, Creole gumbos generally use a lighter (but still medium-brown) roux and include tomatoes, while Cajun gumbos are made with a darker roux and never contain tomatoes.

Cajun Style Gumbo
1 1/2 pounds small shrimp (51 to 60 count), shelled, deveined, shells reserved
1 cup clam juice (one 8-ounce bottle)
3 1/2 cups ice water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup AP flour
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 medium rib celery, chopped fine
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
3/4 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
4 medium scallions , white and green parts sliced thin
Ground black pepper


Bring reserved shrimp shells and 4 1/2 cups water to boil in stockpot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes. Strain stock and add clam juice and ice water (you should have about 2 quarts of stock); discard shells. Set stock mixture aside.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in flour gradually with wooden spoon, working out any small lumps. Continue stirring constantly, reaching into corners of pan, until mixture has a toasty aroma and is deep reddish brown, about the color of an old copper penny or between the colors of milk chocolate and dark chocolate, about 20 minutes. (The roux will thin as it cooks; if it begins to smoke, remove from heat and stir constantly to cool slightly.)

Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and cayenne; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 quart reserved stock mixture in slow, steady stream, stirring vigorously. Stir in remaining quart stock mixture. Increase heat to high; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, skim off foam on surface, add bay leaves, and simmer uncovered, skimming foam as it rises to the surface, about 30 minutes.

Stir in sausage; continue simmering to blend flavors, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in shrimp; simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, stir in parsley and scallions, adjust seasonings to taste with salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne; serve.


  1. I need this ASAP! It sounds/looks phenomenal!

  2. Oh, that sounds really really good today! Yummy!