We prepared this gumbo on our “Pass It On” show, because it is a generational favorite that dates back to Gina’s Nana. Nana made it for Gina, Gina makes it for our daughters, and the hope is that someday our daughters will prepare it for their children. Gina and I love seafood and spicy Louisiana flavors, and this gumbo delivers plenty of both. It’s delicious served over Gina’s Perfect Rice. Gumbos throughout the South are made with countless combinations of seafood and meat (chicken, wild game, and spicy sausage), and ours is brimming with crab, shrimp, chicken, and ham.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 quarts Chicken Stock
¼ cup ketchup
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cubed smoked ham (about 6 ounces)
1 pound fresh or frozen okra, sliced
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (about 6 ounces)
1½ cups crabmeat (½ pound)
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
Juice of ½ lemon
¾ teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and flour over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture darkens to a brown about the color of peanut butter (about 6 minutes). This is called a roux, and it will thicken the gumbo and give it a deep, rich flavor. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Whisk in the stock, add the ketchup, chopped tomatoes, ham, okra, and salt, and simmer over low heat for about 1½ hours, or until the soup has thickened and the flavors are well combined. Stir in the chicken, crabmeat, and shrimp, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until the shrimp are fully cooked and the gumbo is warmed through. Add the lemon juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, taste for seasonings, and serve in shallow bowls over hot steamed rice.