Seafood Gumbo

When I was growing up in Texas, my grandfather would, every once in a while, treat us to a Sunday meal at his favorite restaurant. Every meal I ever had at this lovely establishment began with a cup of seafood gumbo. And, it was amazing! This paleo gumbo recipe closely resembles the flavor of the gumbo that I enjoyed so much as a child. Serve this dish over Cauliflower Rice for extra amazingness! This gumbo recipe is included in my new 17 Soups ebook.

Seafood Gumbo

Makes 12 – 14 servings

Ingredients for shrimp stock:

  • Shrimp shells and heads from 2 pounds of medium-large shrimp
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons bacon grease

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 6 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups okra, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds whole medium-large shrimp, shells and heads removed
  • 1 pound white fish fillets (catfish or cod)
  • 2 cups shucked oysters
  • ½ pound Andouille sausage (optional)
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • Filé powder *

Directions:

  1. Place shrimp in a bowl with ice water to keep them cold while you work. Remove heads and shells from shrimp and place in colander. Remove and discard veins. Place shrimp meat in refrigerator for later use. Using a colander, rinse heads and shells under cold water.
  2. In a large stockpot, bring water to boil over high heat. Add all stock ingredients except bacon grease. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
  3. Pour stock liquid through a sieve and set aside. Separate the shrimp shells from the rest of the stock solids and place in a bowl. Discard remaining solids.
  4. Heat 6 tablespoons bacon grease in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells along with the meat from 6 shrimp and sauté for three minutes, stirring and turning continually. Immediately place into blender with the lid held loosely on top to allow any steam to vent. Cover top of blender with a dishtowel and process the mixture until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add a scoop or two of stock, if necessary, to loosen the mixture. Pour puree into sieve and push juices through using the back of a spoon. Add resulting liquid to the stock.
  5. Scoop a cup or so of stock from the pot and pour it through the remaining bits of shrimp pieces in sieve, using a spoon to stir and press. Add the liquid to the stock. Discard remaining shrimp bits. Set stock aside. (If you need to break up the process of making the gumbo over more than a day, this is a great place to stop. Just allow the stock to cool, cover, and place in the refrigerator until ready to continue.)
  6. Heat bacon grease over medium-high heat in a large stockpot. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pot and stir for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and okra and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and stir.
  7. Add the thyme, Worcestershire, paprika, cayenne and half of the salt to the gumbo. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.
  8. Cook the sausage, if using, in a skillet over medium heat, until cooked and lightly browned. Slice the sausage into ¼ inch slices, then cut each slice in half. Set aside.
  9. Season the shrimp and fish with salt and pepper.
  10. Stir the fish and shrimp into the simmering gumbo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Once the fish is cooked, it will break up into chunks on its own, but you also may want to break the larger chunks with a spoon. Add the sausage. Taste, and embellish on seasonings if necessary.
  11. Serve hot in individual bowls over Cauliflower Rice. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of filé powder over each serving.

* Filé powder is a traditional seasoning and thickener used in Creole cooking made from dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree.

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