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Gumbo, from roux to yum. I’m putting shrimp and crab in this variation – it’s my favorite type of gumbo. You can use just about any protein you prefer – just make sure it is all cooked before you serve.
1) Dice up your veggies nice and fine. Mince the cloves of garlic.
2) In a large pot, heat up oil over low-medium heat. Add flour. Immediately attack with a whisk until combined. Raise heat slightly and begin whisking constantly. You’re make a roux – and we want a nice dark Cajun one. “Dark” is one step below “burnt” so be careful. Play around with the heat if you need to, but do not go above medium. After 20-30 minutes, you should have a smelly goopy substance that has about the same color as a brown paper bag.
3) Toss in your veggies. Stir and saute until soft – 5-10 minutes maybe.
4) Toss in your spices. Stir to combine. I’ve kept the spices very generic because everyone seems to like different amounts. Keep your stock of them close by to season to your personal tastes.
5) Pour in water. You can also use stock, if you prefer, but I’ve never noticed a big difference by the time the gumbo is finished. The roux will flavor (and overpower) the mild tastes of the stock.
6) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 hours or until the liquid is reduced and colored the same as the roux and no longer tastes like veggie-water.
Note: Right now, it all tastes like veggie-water. Do not panic. The flavors haven’t had enough time to do anything yet. Just keep tasting and eventually you will start enjoying it. That’s when you know you’re about done.
7) At 10-15 minutes before you want to serve, toss in your shrimp and crab. Make sure you remove the tails from the shrimp (if they have them). I also like to chop my shrimp in half for easier eating. When done, the shrimp will be nice and pink.
8) Serve. Note, that a proper gumbo is not ‘served’ over rice like an Italian dish over noodles. A good gumbo bowl is shallow and wide, with a tiny bed of rice at the bottom and a big ladle of the good stuff over it – it should really look like soup.
Per Cajun traditions, anyone who finds a hard inedible object in their bowl (shrimp shell, crab shell, small plastic baby) “wins” and gets to make the next batch.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!