Start the seafood gumbo stock very early in the day or better yet, make it the day before you plan to serve the gumbo. In true New Orleans style, serve gumbo with some crusty bread and an ice cold beer.
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons file powder
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
7 cups seafood gumbo stock*
2 cups shucked oysters
1 cup crabmeat
1 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined
Scallions, green part only, sliced for garnish, if desired
Combine the red, white, and black peppers, paprika, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and salt; set aside.
In a heavy pot, 6 quart or larger, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and green pepper. Turn heat to high. Stirring frequently, add garlic, file powder, hot sauce, and the pepper-herb mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add tomato sauce, and continue stirring as it reduces over high heat. Add Seafood Gumbo Stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
When ready to serve, add shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat. Cover, and wait 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve over long grained rice. Garnish with sliced green onion tops.
VARIATIONS: You can also add sliced okra, cubed chicken, smoked sausage, crab or frog legs, scallops, or cubed firm white fish to this recipe.
*SEAFOOD GUMBO STOCK
1 pound shrimp shells
5 quarts water
4 carrots, sliced
4 onions, quartered
1/2 bunch celery, sliced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 sprigs fresh parsley
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Bake shrimp shells at 375°F until dried and starting to brown on edges.
In an 8-quart pot, combine water, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves, garlic, parsley, cloves, pepper, basil, thyme and shrimp shells. Bring slowly to a boil.
Reduce heat, and cook 5 to 7 hours. Replace water as needed, 2 or 3 times, by adding water as needed to maintain about 3 to 4 quarts of liquid.
Remove stock from heat, and strain. Press all liquid from the shells and vegetables, then discard them. Return liquid to heat, and reduce to 2 quarts.