Comfortably Classic Cajun Shrimp Gumbo
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Few dishes are more comforting than a warm bowl of gumbo. The only thing more New Orleans than a dented pot of gumbo simmering on the back burner is arguing about the right way to make it.
New Orleans, aka the Crescent City is a fascinating place known for diversity, culture, and its rich heritage. Put it all in a bowl to eat and enjoy, and you would have what is known as gumbo.
Of all the dishes in the realm of Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and, very likely, the most popular. Gumbo crosses all social class barriers, appearing on the tables of the poor as well as the wealthy. Although ingredients might vary greatly from one cook to the next, and from one part of the state to another, a steaming bowl of fragrant gumbo is one of life’s cherished pleasures, as emblematic of Louisiana as chili is of Texas.
It seems there are as many different recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in the state. There are no other hard-and-fast rules for the ingredients used in making gumbo – anything that flies, crawls, creeps, or lies still may end up in the gumbo pot. There are as many recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana. The making of gumbo draws out the competitive streak in most Louisianans, and most cooks closely guard their recipes.
1. 1 pound medium shrimp
2. Salt and pepper
3. 4 tablespoons olive oil
4. ½ cup diced onion
5. 1 cup diced red or green bell pepper
6. 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
7. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
8. 1 teaspoon paprika
9. ¼ teaspoon cayenne
10. 1 cup diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned
11. 6 ounces smoked andouille sausage, in 1-inch-thick slices
12. 6 cups chicken broth
13. 2 cups chopped okra
14. 1 tablespoon filé powder
15. 2 tbs. creole seasoning
1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning.
2. Make the gumbo base: In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and cook briskly, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle in flour and stir to combine. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring, until flour-vegetable mixture is well browned.
4. Add tomato paste, paprika, cayenne and remaining garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring well, then add diced tomato and andouille sausage and cook for about 2 minutes. Season mixture generously with salt and pepper.
5. Stir in shrimp broth and reduce heat to medium. With a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pot to dissolve any browned bits. Simmer for about 25 minutes, until gumbo base thickens somewhat. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.
6. Add okra and let cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more. Turn off heat. Stir in filé powder. Serve immediately along with steamed rice or cornbread if desired.