Yesterday I took my first class at the Center for Culinary Arts at the University of Richmond. For a few days, I knew I was going to make this gumbo. I saw the recipe in Cooking LIght and wanted to try it. I’d already decided I’d shorten up the cooking time by using store-bought broth, instead of making my own stock. Well, one-three hour class helped me change my mind. Everything is better (tastier, healthier) when you make it from scratch. So, this recipe starts by making shrimp stock. The whole recipe takes about 3 hours to make.
Shrimp Stock Ingredients:
1 pound unpeeled shrimp
8 cups water
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 bay leaves
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
Peel and devein shrimp (save shells for stock). Cut shrimp in half lengthwise; cover and refrigerate.
Combine shrimp shells, and remaining ingredients (through onion) in large Dutch oven. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. Strain stock. Discard solids. Set aside 3 cups of the stock for the gumbo and freeze the remaining stock for another time. Keep the stock for the gumbo hot.
1/4 cup canola oil, divided
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (I used Cajun. There is a subtle difference in the cooking, but the seasonings are almost indistinguishable and sometimes used interchangeably.)
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups chicken broth (OK, I used store-bought.)
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen cut okra
2 teaspoons Worcerstershire sauce
2 teaspoons tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups cooked brown rice
All Cajun cooking starts with a good roux! Heat a cast-iron skillet (my Dutch oven is cast iron) over low heat. Add 1/4 cup of canola oil and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup of flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Increase heat to medium and cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes more until mixture is chestnut brown. Remove from heat; add shrimp stock and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into bowl or large measuring pitcher.
Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about 8-10 minutes, browning on all sides. Add onion, Creole/Cajun seasoning, garlic, celery, tomatoes and green pepper; saute for 3-5 minutes. Return shrimp stock mixture to pan; add chicken broth an bay leaves. Bring to boil; then reduce to simmer 45 minutes.
Add okra, Worcesteshire sauce, tabasco and black pepper and simmer 30 minutes.
Toss shrimp with paprika. Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat in non-stick pan. Add shrimp and saute until shrimp are pink (about 2 minutes). Stir into okra mixture. Serve over rice.