Here is the recipe for Lyman's Seafood Gumbo. (Note: This recipe can be halved. As is, it serves about 12 as an entree.)
This is not rocket science, but it helps to have that kind of budget. First go shopping:
2 ½ cups chopped onion
1 medium onion quartered
2 cups chopped bell pepper
2 cups chopped celery
4 stalks celery quartered
4 tbs minced garlic
1 pound cut okra
1 can original diced Rotel
2 14 ½ oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 pounds headless shrimp, shells on
1 pound crab meat, can use claw meat
4-6 gumbo crabs, usually found frozen in many stores, such as Wal-Mart
2 quarts oysters
6 bay leaves
½ ts white pepper
½ ts black pepper
½ ts red pepper, we use twice as much of these 3 peppers, don’t do it the first time
2 tbs Cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
½ cup flour
½ cup vegetable oil
Note: It is important to follow these steps in the order given as some things need to be prepared in advance and available immediately as they are needed.
To make stock: Peel shrimp reserving shells. Refrigerate shrimp until needed. Place shells in 6 qt pot. Strain oyster liquid into the pot with shrimp shells. Refrigerate oysters until needed. Remove legs and all small claws from gumbo crabs and add to shrimp shells. Look at bottom of gumbo crabs for a flap. Remove and discard if present. Refrigerate crabs and any large claws you want in gumbo until needed. Add quartered onion and celery to pot. Add water to cover shells, crab legs, and vegetables by two inches. Simmer stock for 1 hour. Keep warm.
Chop the vegetables: Chop the onions, bell pepper and celery. Mix together, cover and set aside. Mince the garlic (I use store bought minced) and set aside.
To make roux: Heat oil over medium-high heat in heavy pot at least 7 qts in size, preferably cast iron. When oil is hot slowly sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly with a flat ended spoon, wooden will do. Continue mixing stirring constantly. The mixture will foam slightly for several minutes. Cook stirring constantly until roux is the color of peanut butter. To judge your temperature during cooking, stop stirring and the mixture should start simmering within 2 or 3 seconds. If it doesn’t, increase your heat slightly. Be careful changing your heat, especially with cast iron as it takes several minutes to change.
To assemble gumbo: When roux is ready immediately add chopped onions, bell pepper and celery. Stir until the roux is thoroughly incorporated with the veggies, making sure no roux is stuck to pot. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are completely wilted. This should be done at a medium-high simmer and will probably take 30-40 minutes. You want most of the water cooked off, but not all.
When veggies are wilted add Rotel tomatoes, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, bay leaves, gumbo crabs and any claws, and 2 cups of the seafood stock. Add white, black, and red peppers. Add Cajun seasoning. Bring to a simmer and simmer 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes or so. Make sure to scrape bottom of pot. It should have the thickness of a hardy soup. If need be, add more stock along.
Take shrimp and oysters out of refrigerator and set aside to warm up some.
Add crab meat and okra. Simmer 30 minutes or until okra is tender. Cook rice.
When okra is tender, add shrimp, bring to a simmer and cook until shrimp are done, about 5 minutes after they start simmering.
When shrimp are done, add oysters, bring to a simmer and cook just until the oysters start to curl around the edges. Turn heat to low and move pot partially off the burner.
To serve: Place a small amount of rice in bottom of a bowl and cover with gumbo. Some like more rice and less gumbo. What ever you like. Have the gumbo file’ available at the table to be sprinkled on top of gumbo. Caution: Some people don’t like the file’. If you have never had it, sprinkle a small amount on the edge of your bowl and give a taste.
To reheat: Slowly warm all or part of gumbo. Do not let it come to a simmer.
Enjoy. If you have questions, email Lyman at lymangore at bellsouth.net.