ORIGINAL POST FROM 6/18/12:
Oh yeah, baby - let the bon temps rouler! Nothing hits the spot more than a steaming hot bowl of seafood gumbo, even on an exceptionally hot (98F) June day here in SoCal. When it comes to gumbo, it's all about the roux and it's also all about the stock. The roux, which is basically equal parts flour and oil, must be cooked down until it's quite dark in color (like the color of coffee or a dark toffee), to impart a deep, smoky-nutty flavor to the gumbo. Equally important is the stock you use. Bottled clam juice and salt-free chicken stock are my go-to stock ingredients for gumbo. But, if you want to go all-out and take the extra time, make your own shrimp stock and substitute that for the chicken stock.
My version of seafood gumbo usually includes shrimp, andouille sausage and the untraditional ingredient of artificial crab meat. While some may frown on the idea of using "Krab" rather than "Crab," I've found it to be a really versatile ingredient (it's made from white fish and has a mild flavor) that actually improves the flavor of the stock. Feel free to also add chicken if you'd like. And a final note, I'm a "File" (pronounced "fleelay") kinda gal, so no okra in my gumbo cuz it's just a tad too slimy for my taste.
6 stalks celery, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups salt-free chicken or shrimp stock
4 bottles clam juice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs of fresh (or 1 tsp. dried) thyme
12 oz. Andouille or other spicy sausage (I use Aidell's 4-pack), sliced
Two 8 oz. packages of artificial crab meat
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-2" pieces (OPTIONAL)
2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tbsp. gumbo file (ground sassafras leaves)
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Steamed white rice
I used them instead of the standard bell peppers for this batch of gumbo.
After about 20 minutes, the roux should turn a deep coffee color
(updated photo from 10/29/17).
Add the sausage (and chicken at this point, if using) and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken or shrimp stock and bottled clam juice. Bring the stock to a boil, then stir in the artificial crab (break apart before adding), salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.
shrimp just turn pink. Remove the cooked shrimp to a separate bowl.
Add the gumbo file and cook 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
poached shrimp and garnish with some fresh parsley.