I'd like to share one of my favorite recipes that's been a staple in my family that we make EVERY Christmas, ever since I can remember. My family's GUMBO recipe. You know the saying, we put everything in it except the kitchen sink. Well, almost everything. But the best thing about GUMBO is, there's no right or wrong ingredient, for you make GUMBO with the ingredients that's pleasing to your pallet. So you can put as many ingredients or as few as you like.
2-3 Large Cooking Spoons of Vegetable Oil
2-3 Large Cooking Spoons of All Purpose Flour
1 Med size Onion, chopped
1 Small-med size Bell Pepper cut in small pieces
1 Tbsp Parsley (fresh or flakes)
Smoked Turkey Necks (cut in chunks - for smoked flavor) (optional)
1 Lb of your favorite Smoke Sausage cut in bite size pieces (pork, beef or turkey)
1 Lb Andouille cut in bite size pieces
4-6 Skinless/boneless chicken breast (cut in pieces)
8-12 Chicken wings (split, cleaned and seasoned to taste)
2 lb Fresh shrimp (peeled, deveined and seasoned to taste)
Oysters - Fresh or Canned (optional)
4-6 Medium - Large Crabs (fresh or boiled, cleaned and split in half)
1 Pk. Dried Shrimp (optional)
1 Can Mushroom (stems and pieces (optional)
1 Tablespoon Gumbo file’
Salt and Pepper (red) to taste
Accent seasoning to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Using a 20 qt Stockpot, fill pot halfway with water. Add cleaned crabs and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes. **Combine 2-3 cooking spoons of oil to 2-3 cooking spoons of flour and cook on low-medium flour to make roux, stirring constantly until desired color is obtained. Add to crab stock and stir until mixed thoroughly. Fill pot ¾ full and let boil for 30 minutes. Add turkey necks, onion, bell pepper and parsley flakes to stock and continue to boil. After 30 minutes add Andouille and smoke sausage and continue to boil. After 30 minutes, add chicken pieces, dried shrimp, gumbo file’ and mushroom pieces and continue to boil for 30 minutes. Add shrimp. Bring to boil and taste before adding any more and salt and pepper to stock. Remove from heat and skim off excess oil on top. Serve hot over cooked rice.
After removing from heat, let cool, stirring occasionally to bring the temperature down evenly. Refrigerate when completely cool.
*Note - As mixture boils down, you can replenish the water, keeping the pot filled near capacity while boiling. Never cover pot completely while boiling. Use seasonings listed above to season meats before adding to stock.
**Additional Note - To cut down on the oil in the roux, you may opt to use instant roux available from your favorite grocer. I use Tony Chachere’s Instant Roux mix, although there are other brands on the market. Prepare according to canned directions.
Variations: You can add okra that has been pre-fried/or baked to remove the slime. To remove slime, cook okra on a low fire in oil )only enough to coat the bottom of the pan, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking or burning. A quicker, easier way to remove the slime is to spray a baking pan with Pam and place the cut okra in the oven on 325 - 350 degrees, stirring occasionally until the slime is gone (usually 1-2 hours depending on amount). Add to stock before you add the chicken.
You can also change this recipe according to your taste buds. You can use only seafood (shrimp, crab/crabmeat and oysters) for a Seafood Gumbo, or omit the seafood and use your favorite meats (sausage and chicken) or whatever meats your taste buds call for. Down south,some people to use Hog Chitterlings and Wild meats (deer, rabbit, coon, just to name a few). Unused gumbo may be frozen for up to 6 months.
Happy eating and Merry Christmas to you and yours.