The Gumbo Variations, No.2: Seafood! Shellfish & Yellow Pepper.
Well, the other day I started getting uncontrollable urges for a really big Shellfish Gumbo, and a couple of my friends have a tradition known as ‘BBQ Thursdays’ (no longer held on Thursday due to lecture constraints, but never mind that). The premise behind BBQ Thursday is a group gathering at my friend Ed’s house once a week for one of the most excessive feast we can possibly organise. We all provide £6-15 worth of food or alcohol and make a lot of Ribs, Jerk Chicken, Roast Peppers/Tomatoes, Köfte, Burgers, Cakes, Pies, Saffron/Cumin Rice or whatever else takes our fancies, and then eat till no body can move! Very excessive, very a group of guys in their 20’s, I know. Since I was having cravings for Gumbo, I decided to put myself in charge of buying the food and get the others to either buy alcohol or give me some cash so I could afford to put on this excessive meal. It is most certainly a meal to be eaten with others, and would make a really nice centre piece for a large gathering or party.
– Recipe –
Feeds 8-12, depending on what you serve it with
3 heaped tablespoons Butter, 3 heaped tablespoons Plain Flour, 300g Okra, 1 large Onion in chunks, 6 cloves of Garlic chopped fine, 3 sticks Celery in small chunks, 500g Chouriço or other spicy sausage cut into rings, 4 rashers Bacon chopped, 2-3 Yellow and Red Bell Peppers chopped into small cubes, 3 tablespoons Thyme, 1 tablespoon Ground Allspice, 4 tomatoes chopped, 3 Sweet Potatoes in 2 inch cubes, 1 Baking Potato in 2 inch cubes, Hot Sauce to taste, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, Water/Stock (Chicken or Fish) to cover, 500g Muscles, 200g Cockles, 300g King Prawns (preferably raw), a couple of big handfuls of Parsley to garnish – be liberal
- Make a Roux by melting the Butter on a very low heat and then stirring in the flour, keep stirring till it darkens to the shade you want the Gumbo to be, 5-30 minutes, reserve. But! if any of it burns at all, throw the whole batch away.
- Put a knob of Butter in a pan, sweat the Okra for about 10 minutes, till they are a bit less sticky. Add the Onion, Garlic and Celery, sweat till the Onion is soft and translucent. Add the Thyme, Allspice, Chouriço, Peppers, Tomato and Bacon, stir till the Bacon just begins to change colour, then add the Roux.
- Add the Potato, Sweet Potato, Worcestershire Sauce and Hot Sauce, just cover over with Stock/Water.
- Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer till the potato is soft, 30-40 minutes, stir regularly.
- Add the washed Sea Food, stir vigorously, cook 5 minutes. Then stir in the Parsely (save some in a bowl to garnish) and serve, discarding any unopened shellfish.
- Have with Rice (or cook Rice in to the Gumbo to make it super thick), and some authentic side dishes of your choice.