There's no making a small pot of gumbo. You'll only wish you made more, anyway. One of the secrets to a great (not just a really good) gumbo is lots of ingredients. When I make my gumbo, I cram it full of good things-sausage, chicken, shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat. But, if you want to leave out the oysters and crabmeat, that's fine, too. The gumbo will still be fab-u-lous.
Makes 12 servings
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound andouille, smoked hot links, or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 medium celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups water
1 pound fresh okra, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 pound crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave the tail segment attached, if desired)
2 cups shucked oysters (about 18 oysters)
4 teaspoons filé (gumbo) powder, optional
A double recipe of Perfectly Steamed Rice (page 135)
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil to the pot. Gradually stir in the flour and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture turns light brown, about 5 minutes. The mixture will smell toasty, but don't let it burn!
Gradually stir in the water. Stir in the reserved vegetables and sausage, okra, tomatoes, broth, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Add the chicken and corn and cook for 20 minutes. Add the crabmeat, shrimp, and oysters, and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the filé powder, if desired, and let stand for 5 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves.
To serve, spoon the rice into individual soup bowls. Ladle the gumbo over the rice. Serve hot.
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