Seafood gumbo at last

I love seafood gumbo, and I love making it even though it takes a couple of  hours to prepare.

Making it in the summertime is great because I can get fresh Gulf shrimp on the Mississippi coast and fresh vegetables from the farmers markets in town.

I’m sharing my recipe for seafood gumbo if you’d like to give it a try.

First get your stock started. Take the heads off your shrimp (I used 2 pounds) and put them in a large pot. Add 3 quarts of water, a couple of bay leaves, 1/2 cup each sautéed onion and celery, about 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, 2 halved lemons, 1/2 cup Creole seasoning (I make my own*), and salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil then let simmer for 1 hour.

While the stock broth is simmering, cut up about 2 pounds of okra and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees. Set aside. This helps make the gumbo less gummy.

Chop and sauté 2 medium onions in a little olive oil, then add about 1 1/2 cups chopped celery and a bunch of minced garlic (6-8 cloves).

Chop a small bell pepper and add it to the onion-celery mix and sauté that, too.

When onions and celery are translucent add the okra and four finely chopped tomatoes – about 1/2- to 3/4- inch pieces. Heat thoroughly then set aside.

Make a roux by using about 1/4 cup light olive oil and 1/2 cup flour in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Keep stirring mixture until it is a light brown (blonde). Stir in to vegetable mix.

When the stock is finished strain a little of it slowly over peeled and deveined shrimp until it covers the shrimp, letting the hot broth cook the shrimp, stirring lightly to make sure shrimp cooks evenly and thoroughly.

Pour the rest of the strained broth over the vegetable mixture, stirring it in slowly so the roux doesn’t get clumpy.

Add in the shrimp and the rest of the broth and about 1 1/2 cups lump crabmeat (you can buy it already out of the shell or do it yourself like I did). You can also add a pound of any kind of white fish (seabass, mahi mahi, trout, flounder, etc.).

Serve over rice. Enjoy!

*Creole seasoning: Mix together 2 tablespoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme and oregano, 4 tablespoons paprika, and 1 tablespoon each of chili powder and black pepper.

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