Yields: 10 - 12 servings
For the roux:
1/2 c oil
1/2 c flour
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
several stalks of celery, diced (I usually leave the leaves on, adds to the flavor)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
about 1/4 c Blackened Seasoning (see recipe below this one)
about 2 qt of Shrimp Stock
1# Kielbasa, sliced
2 - 3 # catfish fillets, large dice
2# shrimp, peeled and deveined (save the shells for stock)
salt to taste (I used a little less than a teaspoon)
Make the Shrimp stock by sauteing the shells in a little oil or butter. When the shells are beginning to caramelize just a bit, add a sliced carrot, and stir them around. Once the veggies begin to caramelize just a bit (or if the shells begin to turn really dark), deglaze the pan with about 1/4 c of white wine. Add 2 qt of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for at least 45 minutes. When you're ready to use the stock, strain the stock into a large bowl, discarding the solids.
To start the Gumbo: This one is roux-thickened. Rule-of-thumb for Cajun gumbos is dark meat, light roux; light meat, dark roux. Since the bulk of the proteins here are "light", I like to make my roux a nice nut-brown.
Place a Dutch Oven or other heavy-bottomed stock pot over high heat. Add the oil. Then, add the oil and stir. I use a flat whisk for this, but a large spoon works well; one or the other are needed to get into the corners of the pan. Stir, and keep stirring to make the roux a uniform color. If you leave the heat high, you'll make the roux quickly, but stand a good chance of scorching it. I like to use a medium or med-high heat, and stir about once a minute. You want to take the roux to a nice nut-brown, about what pecans look like after they've been roasted. Once the roux reaches the desired color, immediately turn off the heat, and add in the onions, celery, peppers, garlic, and Blackened Seasoning. Stir until it's mixed well. You're doing two things here; cooking the veggies (Cajun Holy Trinity), and cooling the roux down so that it doesn't burn. The roux will continue to darken up, to a nice dark brown. Don't worry, once you add the stock, it will lightened up again.
Once the veggies are cooked, and the mixture begins to cool down, turn the heat back on to high. Start adding the strained stock slowly. I usually add one ladle at a time for something like this; my ladle is a 4 oz ladle. Mix the stock into the veggie/roux mixture thoroughly. Continue adding the stock in batches like this until you get about half the stock incorporated; by this time the mixture should be fairly fluid. Add the remaining stock and the Kielbasa, stir until smooth, cover, and bring to a boil. Once it hits a boil (careful, it will boil over), reduce the heat to a simmer.
At this point I usually start cooking the rice. Let the gumbo simmer to develop the flavor. Once the rice is done, drain it. Uncover the Gumbo, and add in the catfish and shrimp. Stir to combine, cover, and bring back to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove the gumbo from the heat. Taste to check the seasoning, and add salt as needed.
Serve over the rice, with Tabasco and File Powder on the table.
NOTES: I think there was a little to much Blackened Seasoning in this for my kids. Personally, I thought it was perfect.
Blackened Seasoning Mix
2 T paprika
5 t salt
2 t onion powder
2 t garlic powder
2 t cayenne
1 ½ t white pepper
½ t black pepper
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
Mix all ingredients well, and place in a shaker. DO NOT breathe in the “dust cloud” while mixing the spices together!
Perception Search 13