Seafood Gumbo

Brennan's Steakhouse Recipe

Makes 12 main dish servings

2 pounds yellow onions, chopped
2 pounds green sweet peppers, chopped
1 pound red sweet peppers, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3/4 pound fresh okra, sliced in half inch rounds
1 cup fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
6 quarts seafood stock, divided
3 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 whole small bay leaves
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh oysters
1 1/2 cups crab claw meat
1 cup peeled and chopped medium shrimp
3 tablespoons fresh file powder                
cooked long grain white rice, for serving
hot or mild pepper sauce, for the table
saltine crackers or crusty French bread, for the table

In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions, green and red sweet peppers, celery, okra, tomatoes and garlic. Set aside. In a heavy 12 quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot,
about four minutes. Very slowly (so you won’t burn yourself) add the flour, whisking constantly and thoroughly with a long handled metal whisk until all the flour has been added and the mixture is smooth. Reduce the heat to medium low. Continue cooking the roux, whisking constantly so it doesn’t scorch, until it turns a dark chocolate brown, about four minutes.

With a wooden spoon promptly stir in the reserved vegetable mixture the onions, peppers, celery, etc.—and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Add 1 quart of stock to the roux mixture, whisking thoroughly until all the roux dissolves and blends into the liquid. Remove from heat momentarily. In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the thyme, basil, oregano, chili powder, kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, crushed red pepper and bay leaves. Stir this seasoning mixture into the roux mixture containing the 1 quart of stock. Gradually add the remaining 5 quarts of stock, stirring constantly.

Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat that rises to the surface. By the end of the cooking time the gumbo should have thickened to the consistency of cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If you’re making the gumbo ahead, let it cool at this point, then cover and refrigerate it until it is time to reheat and proceed with the recipe. Next, thoroughly stir in the oysters, crab meat and shrimp. Cook the shellfish until they are just done, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

Serving Suggestions: Immediately before serving the gumbo, whisk in the filé. Ladle the gumbo into heated cups or soup bowls over rice, or pass the rice at the table, along with pepper sauce and saltine crackers or French bread.

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