My philosophy is "If you are going to cook, cook." If you are going to be chopping, dicing, and making a roux, just go for it and freeze smaller batches so you can enjoy your efforts later with no effort.
Do not let this quantity scare you. Gumbo freezes well. If you are going to go to the trouble to make a good gumbo, you should have some for later. You can also cut this recipe in half.
Makes 2 gallons of gumbo
For the gumbo base: • 3 cups chopped onion
• 3 cups chopped bell pepper • 3 cups chopped celery
• 1 tablespoons garlic powder • 1 tablespoons basil (dry)
• 1 teaspoon thyme (dry) • 4 tablespoons gumbo file powder
• 1 ½ cups dark roux • 6 quarts chicken stock
• 4 cups canned diced tomatoes • 8 cups frozen okra
• 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
• 1 tablespoon salt
For chicken-andouille gumbo: • 3 cups diced andouille sausage
• 6 cups diced cooked chicken I often use rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. I like using white and dark meat and they have good flavor for soups and gumbos.
For seafood gumbo: • 4 gumbo crabs (these are usually in the frozen food section—blue crabs that have been cleaned and the hard shell removed.)
• 2 cups crab meat or shelled crab claws
• 6 cups shrimp—peeled and deveined Optional:
• 1 pint East Coast oysters (I do not recommend Pacific oysters—they are too large and milky)
I often add andouille to my seafood gumbo—I like the smoky flavor.
Make the base: In 10-quart soup pot or gumbo pot add a little oil or margarine and saute onion, celery, and bell pepper.
Add garlic powder, basil, thyme, and file powder. Then add dark roux and stir until it is blended with the vegetables.
Add the stock and stir until the roux is dissolved in the stock.
Add diced tomatoes and okra. Then add Cajun spice (some brands are more salty than others so be careful and hold some back to make sure it is not over-seasoned).
Cook gumbo over medium heat for 90 minutes.
Add the other ingredients:
Then divide the gumbo base into two pots: half for chicken gumbo and the other for seafood gumbo.
For the chicken gumbo, add the andouille and chicken and cook for another 20 minutes. It is best to let this sit for one hour and then reheat to serve.
For the seafood add the gumbo crabs and simmer for 30 minutes.
Bring the seafood gumbo to a boil then add the crabmeat and shrimp and turn off. Let stand for one hour then reheat to serve.
Serve with rice in the center of the bowl or plain.
To read Regina's thoughts about the key elements of traditional gumbo, click here.