Gumbo

I love New Orleans - the people, the music, the food. After my first business trip there and tasting gumbo, I tried to make it myself, but there was something missing. So I managed to get myself sent there for business as often as possible so I could re-taste what gumbo is supposed to be - one trip I spent the entire time going from place to place, trying it out, from fancy, expensive restaurants to dark, divey bars. The dark, divey bars had the best gumbo, and after several attempts, I came up with this.

The only way to make this taste right is to use homemade chicken stock and shrimp stock. And to make it the day before you're going to serve it so that all the flavors can mature - it always tastes better the next day.

I've been told by some of my friends, who grew up in New Orleans, that this is pretty authentic.

For 8

Ingredients

1 # Andouille Sausage (halved and sliced)
1 5# Roasted Chicken (the meat from, loosely chopped up, using the bones for your Chicken Stock)
1 # Shrimp (peeled and deveined, using the shells for your Shrimp Stock)
½ # Crab Meat
8 Cloves Garlic (loosely chopped)
2 Stalks Celery (sliced)
1 Medium Yellow Onion (loosely chopped)
½ # Fresh Okra (sliced)
1 Red Pepper (chopped)
1 Green Pepper (chopped)
1 (28 oz.) Can Ground Tomatoes
2 + Cups Chicken Stock
1 + Cup Shrimp Stock
8 oz. Cajun Spices for Gumbo
1 Bay Leaf
3 T Filé Powder (I like Zatarain's)
2 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter
Rice

Directions

Put your olive oil, butter, celery, onion, garlic, okra, and sausage into a large stock pot over medium heat, and cook until the onions start to become translucent (about 10 minutes). You'll want to be sure to stir the pot frequently so you don't have things burning to the bottom of the pot.

While that's going on, put your chicken, shrimp, and crab into a large bowl, add 4 T of your cajun spices, and toss to make sure everything gets covered nicely.

Once your onions are translucent, add the chicken, shrimp, and crab to the pot, and stir. After about 10 minutes or so, add your peppers, open a beer (preferably an Abita), and continue to stir the pot.

After about 5 more minutes, add your chicken stock and shrimp stock and your bay leaf and stir. When the pot starts to boil, reduce your heat to allow it to simmer, and add your tomatoes. When it returns to a simmer, add the rest of your cajun spices and filé powder and stir.

After about another 15 - 20 minutes, your gumbo will be "done" cooking. That said, the flavors and spices want to mature, so you can either drop the flame down to low and allow it to continue simmering for an hour, or you can kill the heat entirely, let it cool, put it in the fridge over night, and re-heat it the next day.

Serve in bowls, over rice, with a dash of filé powder sprinkled over the top.

Enjoy!

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