Poppy Tooker is a well-regarded New Orleans cooking instructor and slow-food advocate. Her gumbo credentials were burnished last year when she appeared on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and roundly defeated the cocky celebrity chef in a gumbo cook-off.
Serves 10 to 12 • 1 cup oil
• 1 1/2 cups flour • 4 gumbo crabs
• 4 lbs. shrimp • 1 onion, chopped
• 1 bell pepper, chopped • 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 lbs. okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick • oil for frying okra
• 1 - 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes • 1/2 gallon shrimp stock
• 1 clove garlic • 2 tablespoons thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 bunch green onions
Peel shrimp and combine peels, onion skins, and tops in a stock pot. Cover with water and boil for 10 minutes.
Strain and reserve water.
Fry okra in very hot oil until lightly browned.
Make a dark roux with the flour and oil, cooking to the color of milk chocolate brown. Add onions, stirring together until the roux darkens to a bittersweet chocolate brown. Add celery and bellpepper. Saute for five minutes, then add the gumbo crabs, tomatoes okra, herbs, and the shrimp stock. Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 45 minutes or longer.
10 minutes before serving add shrimp and green onions. Serve on top of cooked rice.