December 30, 2011

Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo

My husband bought 3 pounds of raw shrimp that I have been trying to use it up this week, making sure none goes to waste.  On Monday, I made shrimp Alfredo.  On Wednesday, I made pad Thai shrimp (recipe to come).  On Thursday, I made Cajun shrimp and sausage gumbo.  Needless to say, I am completely burnt out on shrimp at this point!

Gumbo is a savory soup that is ladled over cooked white rice.  I make mine very mildly spicy and serve the hot sauce and cayenne on the side, so each person can adjust the heat level to their liking.  This is an absolutely delicious meal that my family loves and I hope you will try it.  The roux (equal parts fat and flour) may take a while to get to the chocolate brown color (about 40 minutes of constant stirring on low heat) but it brings such a richness and depth of flavor that makes it all worth the wait.  Shh!  If you don't have 40 minutes, you can carefully and vigilantly cook the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly.  It takes about 1/5 of the time to bring to the appropriate color but it can burn quickly, so be careful!

Serves 4
  • 1/2 lb sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 1/4 c plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil, separated
  • 1/4 c flour 
  • 1/2 c onion, diced  
  • 1/2 c bell pepper, diced 
  • 1/4 c celery, diced
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • Salt, or to taste 
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste 
  • Hot sauce, to taste 
  • 1/2 tbsp file powder
  • Optional:  Green onion, sliced (for garnish)
  • White rice, cooked 

Heat 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the sausage.  Cook and stir until cooked through.  Remove the sausage using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Turn the heat down to low.  Add the remaining 1/4 c vegetable oil to the pot.  Whisk in the flour.  Continue to cook until the roux turns a chocolate brown color, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.  This may take 35 to 45 minutes.

Add the onion, bell pepper and celery.  Continue to cook and stir constantly for 1 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Turn the heat up to medium.  Gradually stir in the chicken stock.  Add the bay leaf, garlic and parsley.  Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and hot sauce, to taste.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Stir in the sausage and shrimp during the last 5 to 7 minutes of cooking, until the sausage is warmed through and the shrimp is cooked through.  Remove the bay leaf.

Pour the gumbo over white rice.  Sprinkle with file powder, if desired.  Garnish with parsley and green onions, if desired.


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