First, I made a trip to the Fish Market in Mayport Fl for fresh shrimp with their heads still intact. I told the fish monger that I was going to make a Louisiana gumbo and asked if they had any spices for it. No, they didn't, but he told me that they served gumbo in the restaurant and offered me to taste. It was very good. We talked about the ingredients used and among them was the okra. I was anxious to get home and start cooking.
Meat: For my gumbo, I used shrimp cooked in a seafood spice mixture. I beheaded and shelled the shrimp, cooked the shells one more time and reserved the broth, about one cup. I stir fried three small chicken breasts cut into strips and also stir fried chopped up smoked sausage. I combined the shrimp, chicken, and sausage and set it aside.
Seasoning: Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, splash of white vinegar, paprika, and Cajun mix. I also made two cups of chicken broth from bouillon cubes plus the shrimp broth that I had made earlier.
The meat, the vegetables, and the seasoning are now ready for the gumbo. In Louisiana, they start with the roux. I was slightly intimidated by the prospect of making roux. Fear not! Here it goes:
I used equal parts of fat (canola oil and margarine) with white flour, one cup of each. I heated the fat. I mean, I heated the fat and then slowly added the cup of flour, STIRRING constantly. I reduced the heat but still kept the fire going and kept stirring, careful to not let it burn.
"They" say that if the roux burns ever so slightly, black specks showing up in the roux, throw it out and start over. "They" also say that it will take a long time to make the roux. Some say an hour and a half! I was surprised when my roux thickened up and turned almost dark chocolate brown and it took less than 15 minutes.
Here comes the fun: Use a large pot to combine the roux, the meats, the vegetables, and the seasonings. Also, add the shrimp broth and most, if not all, of the chicken broth. Heat it up and let it simmer to let the okra cook and all the ingredients blend. I ended up with a yummy gumbo, tweaked it a bit more with paprika, salt and pepper, and served it over rice.
My husband gave me the nod on this gumbo and so did my son who also selected the music.
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