Like our BBQ sauce, deviled eggs and potato salad recipes, most Southerners living near the Gulf coast will also have a gumbo recipe they claim as the world’s finest. Well, I’ve had some amazing gumbos in my time and I’d put this one up against them. You can make the roux lighter if you like and some people do. I prefer a dark brown, chocolate-y colored roux flavored with layers of bacon, sausage and the Trinity. Gumbo is a great way to feed a lot of people and when you serve it with rice, you can really stretch it even further. Try your own flavors and add hot sauce to your taste.
MARTIE’S LOWER ALABAMA SHRIMP AND SAUSAGE GUMBO RECIPE
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
4 pounds 26-30 count raw Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound Conecuh brand smoked sausage cut into ½ inch-thick slices (use Andouille or kielbasa if you can’t find Conecuh)
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium onions, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound fresh okra, cut into 1/4“slices (you can use frozen)
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
7 cups chicken broth (use low sodium)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup thinly sliced scallions plus more for garnish
In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook well browned. About 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the shrimp to the drippings and cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Keep heat medium high. To make the roux, add the remaining ½ cup oil to the pan and heat until it starts to smoke. Then, whisk in flour, a little at a time. Cook the flour for about 20 minutes, whisking constantly so that it does not burn. The roux should be dark brown. Be patient. If you rush or cook it less, it will result in a lighter roux.
Next, add the onions, celery, okra, and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic, salt, pepper, white pepper, cayenne, paprika, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, cooking for about 2 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn. Now, slowly whisk in the chicken broth, adding it in a little at a time; cooking until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about an hour. Add the sausage and shrimp and heat it through. Skim off any excess fat from the surface as it cooks. Fish out the bay leaves and discard before serving. Stir in parsley and scallions. Serve over white rice with hot sauce and more scallions on the side.