HOUSTON – Making a big pot of gumbo is a little labor intensive, but it lasts for days and only gets better with time. It’s perfect for a lazy cold afternoon spent at home or any Fall or Winter event. The most time-consuming part and the most important part is making the roux. It is a process that should not be rushed. It forms the base of the flavor and you really want to take the time and develop a deep, robust flavor. Making roux can take some practice. Turn the heat up too high and it will burn and you will have to start again. Houston Life Reporter Joe Sam has been making gumbo since he was old enough to reach the stove. He was taught by his grandmother, Merline Cretchain, who’s been using the same recipe passed down through the generations.
- 2 pounds unpeeled fresh large shrimp
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 2 (32-ounce) cartons chicken broth
- 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups finely-chopped onions
- 1 cup finely-chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup finely-chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning of your choice (season to taste)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (use for inside gumbo and garnishing once done)
- 1 or 2 pounds of crab legs
- Cooked rice for serving
- Peel and devein shrimp, placing shrimp shells in a large pot. Refrigerate shrimp until needed.
- In a large pot, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and cook until pink. Then add broth.
- Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until needed.
- In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add oil and remaining 1/4 cup butter to Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until butter is completely melted.
- Add flour and stir with wooden spoon until smooth.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until roux is a dark caramel color. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
- Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add green pepper and celery and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
- Pour shrimp stock through a fine-meshed sieve into Dutch oven.
- Add Cajun seasoning, and bay leaves, plus the reserved andouille sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Add green onions, parsley, and shrimp. When shrimp are pink, remove from heat and stir in crabmeat.
- Serve with white rice.