Seafood and Okra Gumbo

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Makes 2½ gallons. Recipe is by James Jacobs, Magpie Cafe, Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Seafood gumbo is typical of New Orleans, where the Islenos, fishermen from the Canary Islands settled in the 18th century and kept the city constantly supplied with shrimp and oysters. Also, okra was a favorite food of slaves. Records even show that slaves sold “gumbo ya-ya,” stewed okra and rice in the streets of New Orleans, a dish that helped spawn today’s gumbo.

 

2¼ cups vegetable oil, divided

2 large yellow onions, chopped

½ bunch celery, chopped

2 large bell peppers, chopped

2 tbls. minced garlic

1 lb. sliced okra, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour (or Southern brand roux from a jar)

6 gumbo crabs

¼ cup prepared espresso coffee

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 tbl. Creole seasoning

2 tbls. worcestershire sauce

1 lb. peeled shrimp

1 lb. crawfish tails

1 lb. crabmeat

1 tbl. filé powder

Cooked rice for serving

 

1. Over medium heat in a large stock pot, add ¼ cup vegetable oil and saute onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and ½ pound okra until vegetables are soft.

2. Make roux in a heavy-bottomed skillet by cooking remaining 2 cups oil and flour over medium heat and stirring constantly until a dark rich color. Remove from heat source and set aside to cool.

3. Fill stock pot containing sauteed vegetables 2/3 full with water (filtered water is preferable). Bring to a brisk boil. Add gumbo crabs, coffee, tomatoes, Creole seasoning, and worcestershire sauce. Reduce to a rolling boil and cook 20 minutes.

4. Using paper towels, absorb oil that has accumulated on surface of roux that was set aside. Add roux to gumbo and stir until well blended. Simmer 20 minutes.

5. Add shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat and remaining ½ pound okra. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook 20 minutes, then stir in filé. Serve over rice.