When my friend Lucy Buffett called to tell me about her wonderful new book, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Gumbo Love—what a brilliant name for a book! One of my favorite dishes of all time is gumbo. Now there are a million versions of this favorite, so I was thrilled to know she was sharing her recipe along with other delicious dishes from the Gulf Coast. When I looked through the book, I was so impressed with how she showcases the distinct flavors of Gulf Coast foods through the pages of this wonderful book.
The book opens with tips on cooking and the basis for a good gumbo–the roux! From there, she takes us on a journey that starts with Southern Desserts. By the time I had flipped through to the back, I had made myself hungry just dreaming of cooking these seafood recipes. I love a great Shrimp Salad and right there was a recipe for Old-Fashioned Shrimp Salad that has 3 pounds of shrimp in the recipe. Yum!
Chapter 3 is the Gumbo chapter. Need I say more? Oh my goodness, it includes five of Lucy’s gumbo favorites that will soon become yours as well.
This book is for those of us who want to try new, exciting recipes from the Gulf Coast. Her book is a tribute to her life and her journey as a successful restaurateur. You will love reading her commentary, in addition to making her scrumptious dishes.
She has graciously provided us with 3 copies of her new book that we will be giving away to 3 lucky Ribbon Readers, so scroll to the bottom to enter!
Gumbo Love to my friend Lucy (Lulu) Buffett! Well done.
- 3 pounds medium wild-caught Gulf shrimp, heads on
- 2 pounds cooked blue crab claw meat, picked through for shells, handled carefully to keep the meat in big chunks
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with their juices
- ¾ cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch celery, coarsely chopped, including leaves
- 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
- 8 cups shrimp or seafood stock (recipe follows), heated
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons LuLu’s Crazy Creola Seasoning (recipe follows), or other Creole seasoning
- ¼ cup hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 blue crab bodies, if available (optional)
- 2½ pounds fresh okra, chopped into ¼-inch pieces, or thawed frozen cut okra
- 2 cups finely chopped green onions
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- French bread and butter, for serving
- Peel and devein the shrimp. (If you’re making your own stock, reserve the heads and shells to make the stock.) Refrigerate the shrimp and crabmeat until ready to use.
- If using fresh tomatoes, fill a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Carefully drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and let them cool. The skins will slip off easily. Remove the cores and coarsely chop the tomatoes over a bowl to retain as much juice as possible. Set aside. (If using canned tomatoes, chop each tomato into eighths and return them to the juice in the can.)
- To make the roux, in a large stockpot (about 10 quarts), heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gradually add the flour, whisking continuously, and cook, stirring and adjusting the heat as necessary to keep it from burning, until the roux is a dark mahogany color, 25 to 35 minutes. Be careful: if the roux burns, you will have to start all over again!
- Carefully add the onion to the roux and stir with a large wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. (The onion will sizzle and steam when it hits the hot roux, so caution is advised. All seasoned gumbo cooks have roux battle scars on one or both arms.)
- Add the celery and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes more. The mixture should resemble a pot of black beans in color and texture.
- Add the heated stock and the tomatoes with their juices. Stir in the salt, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil, Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well. Bring the gumbo to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Add the crab bodies (if using) and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
- Add the okra and bring the gumbo to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the okra has lost its bright green color and cooked down like the other vegetables. If the gumbo gets too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, continue to simmer it, uncovered.
- Gumbo is always better the day after it has been cooked, although I’ve never had a complaint when I served it the day I made it. At this point, you can cool the gumbo. Turn off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then place the pot, uncovered, in an empty sink. Fill the sink with cold water and ice around the stockpot (try not to get any in the stockpot itself). Stir every 15 minutes to facilitate cooling. (The gumbo will spoil if improperly cooled—see page xxx for tips on cooling the gumbo.) When completely cool, refrigerate the gumbo in the stockpot, uncovered.
- When ready to serve, slowly bring the gumbo to a simmer over medium-low
- heat. Thirty minutes before serving, add the green onion, parsley, and lemon juice to the gumbo. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and crabmeat, mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes more to cook the seafood. The gumbo will stay hot for a long time. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasonings; serve over cooked white rice with French bread and butter.
- Heads, tails, and shells from about 5 pounds peeled wild-caught Gulf shrimp
- 6 quarts water
- 2 lemons, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 onions, coarsely chopped
- 6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
- Handful of fresh parsley with stems, washed thoroughly
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 whole garlic clove
- White wine
- At least several hours before you plan to make the stock, fill a clean, empty 1-liter soda bottle with water to about 2 inches from the top, seal, and freeze it.
- Run cold water over the shrimp shells to rinse. Place all the ingredients in a medium stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium, or until the stock is simmering. Skim off the foam that rises to the top. Cook for a couple of hours, skimming again about every 15 minutes.
- Place the stockpot in an empty sink. Fill the sink with water and ice around the stockpot. Let the stock cool completely, uncovered. When the stock has cooled down a bit, about 30 minutes or so, put the frozen soda bottle in the middle to cool the stock from the inside out. Strain the stock, discarding the solids, transfer to storage containers, and refrigerate or freeze immediately.
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons granulated onion or onion powder
- ¼ cup paprika
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container.
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