Seafood Gumbo with Okra
- SERVINGS: 12
Gumbo is a defining dish of Louisiana cooking. This version is packed with seafood (crab claws practically reach out of the pot) and delivers a real Creole punch. Your fishmonger can do the crab cracking for you. Any firm smoked pork sausage can be substituted for the andouille.
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds large hard-shell crabs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 1 medium bunch of celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice (5 cups)
- 4 medium green or red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Pinch each of dried oregano, basil and thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 pound okra; sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 quart shucked oysters, in their liquor
- 8 cups cooked white rice, for serving
- Louisiana hot sauce
- Pull off the top shells of the crabs and discard. Remove and discard the gills. Cut the crabs in half. Crack the claws with a rolling pin or mallet.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or small stockpot until smoking, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the roux is the color of chocolate, 3 to 5 minutes; do not let it burn. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the bell peppers, scraping the bottom of the pot. Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, thyme and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
- Gradually add 2 quarts of cold water to the pot, stirring constantly. Add the crabs, sausage and okra, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover partially and cook for 1 hour; skim often. Add the shrimp and cook for 10 minutes. Add the oysters and their liquor and bring just to a boil over moderate heat. Serve immediately, passing the rice and hot sauce separately.