Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Sausage and Seafood Gumbo

This is the real thing, y'all- real Creole gumbo, straight from New Orleans.  Did you know that the word "gumbo" traces its root back across the Atlantic, where it derived from an African word meaning "okra"... Okra is what makes this soup thick.  It is the combination of African, French and Spanish cuisine that makes Creole food so delicious, sometimes a bit spicy, and always unique.
My mother-in-law, a Creole food master, passed her recipe on to me and I'm going to share it with you today.  She learned it from her mother-in-law, who grew up in the French quarter- the heart of New Orleans.  This soup is usually served with rice and French bread (great for sopping up the remaining broth), but as you can see from the picture I am nixing the rice and bread because I am trying to eat fewer grains.  It is fantastic as is!
What you'll need for a little bit of Creole heaven:
1.5 lbs raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined
12 oz lump crab meat, flaked
6 oz oysters (optional)
1 lb smoked sausage or andouille, sliced in disks
1/2 lb okra, cut in disks (discard the tops)
1 med. onion (chopped)
2 ribs celery (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
2 large garlic cloves (pressed)
3 bay leaves
1/4 t dried thyme
1 T Cajun seasoning ( I like Tony Chachere's)
1/4 t red pepper
1/2 t black pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
7 cups water
2 t dried parsley
rice and French bread (optional)

Brown sausage in a large pot, then remove.  In the sausage drippings, saute the okra for about 5 minutes (add butter if too dry).  Add the other vegetables to the pot and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add meat, tomatoes, water and other seasonings to the pot (except parsley and seafood).  Simmer over med. heat for 30 minutes.  If you want a thicker soup, simmer uncovered- if you like broth, cover while simmering.  Finally, add seafood and parsley to pot and simmer another 10 minutes. 

Serve with a scoop of rice on top of the gumbo (That's the New Orleans way) and a large slice of French bread on the side.  You may want to put a bottle of Tabasco on the table for those who like to spice it up!  Enjoy!

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