The newest addition to the phenomenally popular NCIS series, NCIS: New Orleans, may have you thinking about one of the foods for which New Orleans is known – gumbo. Gumbo, a hearty stew made with anything from sausage or duck to rabbit or seafood, starts with a roux, a mix of flour and oil that is cooked until it turns dark and nutty, giving the stew recipe its signature earthy flavor.
This recipe for seafood gumbo comes from Eula Mae Doré, who was the cook at the Commissary on Avery Island, home to the Tabasco Company. Just as most cooks of her generation did, she learned Cajun cooking by watching, rather than from cookbooks. (Recipe adapted from Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen by Eula Mae Doré and Marcelle R. Bienvenu; Harvard Common Press, 2007.) It is included in the latest digital edition of Diabetic Connections.
- 5 tablespoons canola oil , divided
- 1 pound okra , fresh or frozen (thawed), trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
- 1 1/4 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1 1/4 cups chopped scallions , divided
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
- 2 cups seafood stock or water
- 1/2 cup cubed boiled deli ham
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp (26-30 count)
- 1/2 pound lump crab meat , any shells or cartilage removed
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add okra and cook, stirring often, until it starts to turn dark brown, 18 to 22 minutes.
- Add vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the okra is browned and no longer has “sticky strings” attached, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add flour and cook, stirring slowly and constantly, until the mixture smells very toasty and is the color of peanut butter, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add bell peppers, onions, 1 cup scallions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in the okra, tomatoes, stock (or water), ham, bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire, hot sauce and salt.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a slow, steady simmer, for 45 minutes.
- Add shrimp and crab meat to the pot and simmer, uncovered, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves and thyme.
- Garnish with parsley and the remaining scallions.