This is one of my go-to recipes for company and we absolutely love it. I use whatever I have on hand and since I don’t eat meat, I either omit the sausage, or I include it for my carnivorous family, get over it and just fish it out…
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
4 garlic cloves
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
10 ounces frozen cut okra (optional)
One 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 pound sliced smoked sausage (Andoulle or other)
6 catfish fillets, washed and chopped
Make a roux with the oil and flour, browning it slowly and stirring frequently. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes until it is a rich milk-chocolate color (I have tried to speed it up by increasing the heat, which works in a pinch, but trust me, it’s worth the patience to let the roux brown slowly). When the roux is just right, add the garlic, onions, celery, and green pepper, stirring vigorously. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour or more. Don’t completely forget about the gumbo on the stove, but it doesn’t need a lot of attention at this point, unless you just can’t keep your spoon out of it…
Add pepper or salt to taste and serve with rice or fresh baguette.
You can also add a variety of seafood to the gumbo –shrimp, crab meat, crawfish– whatever is on hand! Wonderful to keep in the freezer for unexpected company. We generally “fish” out the good stuff, freeze the broth and just add more seafood when we need a quick dinner.