About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shrimp Gumbo Alfresco

The weather has moderated from the muggy buggy days of August when "sauna" is the right word to describe our climate.  A far cry from our vacation in Alaska. Suddenly, the skies are clear and the humidity is low. We have a reprieve from the mosquitoes so its time to eat outdoors again.  I'm inspired by the fresh white Georgia shrimp I spy in the store, tomatoes are prime and okra's still available.  Gumbo!!  If you don't know what file is, it comes from sassafrass.  Look for it in spices.

4 tbls flour
4 tbls butter
2 tbls butter
3 cups sweet onion diced
1+ cup green pepper diced
5 garlic cloves minced
1 smoked ham hock
1 lb andouie sausage
12 okra pods, cut in piece
2 tsp Creole Seasoning
2 bay leaves
2 tbls chopped parsley
2-3 lbs tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tbls Kosher salt (more to taste)
1 tbls file
2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
1 quart fish stock*
2 tbls Worcestershire sauce

In a large heavy dutch oven melt the butter over medium low heat then add the flour.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the roux turns dark red. Immediately remove from the heat.  If the roux burns, you must start over.  In a separate large pot, melt the other 2 tbls butter and saute the onion and green pepper until they are soft, 3-4 mins. Add the okra, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, tomatoes, ham hock and stocks.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 mins.  Add entire mixture to the roux.  Add the sausage, combine and bring to a boil.  Season with Worcestershire, salt & pepper and file.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust seasoning and add Tabasco (it's up to you) and shrimp. Remove ham hock. Cook shrimp in gumbo 3-4 minutes until just pink.  Serve in bowls with a scoop of white rice and bottle of Tabasco on the side. Even better made a day in advance.

* 1 fish frame, such as snapper (head & tail, ask the fish monger to put one aside for you),  shrimp shells from the peeled shrimp, 1 leek, white & light green part only,
celery leaves, 1 onion sliced, 1 garlic clove, 4 pepper corns, 1 bay leaf,   3 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs., 3 quarts water. Cook until reduced to 2 quarts. Strain twice through a colander lined with cheese cloth and then a fine mesh strainer.

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