12 August 2009

Recipe: Eula Mae's Cajun Seafood Gumbo

Jacqueline's seafood gumboImage by Southern Foodways Alliance via Flickr

From Denny: Just loading this recipe into the online editor is making my mouth water! This version of famous Cajun gumbo has shrimp and lump crabmeat in it. We love Honey-Baked Ham brand in our house as the smoky and sweet flavors go so well as a flavoring for seafood dishes. Cajun tasso is wonderful too - just use a lot less of that as it is salty like Virginia cured ham or country ham as some people know it.

Make sure you have some file powder on hand to sprinkle on your gumbo after you ladle it over the hot cooked rice in the bowl as you serve it. File powder is ground sassafras root which acts as a digestive. File came to us from the Choctaw Indians when the Cajuns settled south Louisiana. In fact, if it weren't for the Choctaw the early settlers would never have been able to navigate the natural winding and twisting bayous to discover Baton Rouge, the capital city! The Choctaw did a lot to help develop this area and food culture.

From: THE TABASCO® COOKBOOK 1993 by Paul McIlhenny with Barbara Hunter. The McIlhenny family are the original founders and creators of Tabasco sauce from Avery Island where there is the salt mine and bird sanctuary.

Serves: 12 to 16


3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 pounds fresh okra, or 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen okra, thawed
and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 quarts water

2 pounds cubed cooked ham (about 6 cups)

3 large onions, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 head garlic, cloves peeled but left whole

1 green pepper, diced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over

1 1/2 tablespoons Original TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce

6 cups cooked rice


Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet (not cast iron) over medium heat. Add okra and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer ropy, about 30 minutes. Add vinegar; cook and stir another 10 minutes, until okra takes on a brownish color and is reduced to about a quarter of its original volume. Spoon okra into a bowl and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Meanwhile, add remaining 1/4 cup oil to skillet over medium-high heat; add ham and sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned. With slotted spoon, remove ham to stockpot. In same skillet, combine onions, celery, garlic, and green pepper and cook, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring constantly; add to stockpot along with okra and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to very low, add shrimp, and simmer 10 minutes. Add crab meat and TABASCO® Sauce; simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer. Serve gumbo in soup bowls with mounds of rice.

Note: This recipe is HIGH in sodium so if you have a health issue take time to look at the recipe to cut the salt level. Remember, Louisiana in the summer time is a hot and humid climate where a high salt diet can be tolerated if there is no air conditioning.

Nutritional information per serving: 597 Calories (and worth every calorie!), 58g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 21g fat, 244mg cholesterol, 1799mg sodium

Avery Island, Cajun, gumbo, seafood gumbo, Tabasco, TABASCO Sauce, Fruit and Vegetable, Home, Okra, Cooking, Gumbo, Louisiana, soups and stews

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