Gumbo is one of the truly quintessential American dishes that’s frequently served up with a side of healthy debate. Typically, this comes down to the roux, a mixture of fat and oil that’s used to thicken the sauce. In New Orleans, the idea is to get the roux as dark as possible without burning or scorching. This can be a bit of a difficult thing as roux can go from dark to burned in a matter of seconds. The key comes down to controlling your heat and adjusting as you go. If it’s getting too hot too quickly, reduce the heat. The darker the roux, the richer the flavor, but this step frequently get’s sidestepped in lieu of ease. I would definitely urge you to go as dark as possible, but really that’s up to you and your own personal comfort level. If your roux is a little light, it’s not a huge deal.
Also, there are a variety of things that can go into a gumbo. Personally, catfish is my go-to for this as it’s as traditional as it is affordable. Of course, you could also add in crab meat, shrimp, clams, mussels, or virtually any type of fish or combination thereof that you enjoy.
No matter what you decide, give this recipe a shot. Gumbo is always enjoyable and it’s great for both weeknight meals or parties, so give it a go and you won’t be disappointed.
1lbs Catfish fillets, cut into 1″ cubes
12oz Andouille Sausage, cut into 1″ cubes
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
16oz frozen okra
1 1/2 quarts of fish, chicken, or vegetable stock
1 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat along with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and saute until the onions are soft and translucent and the other vegetables are tender.
In a large pot or Dutch oven placed over medium-high heat, add 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup flour. Whisk to combine.Cook over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the mixture becomes a dark brick red (approx. 20 minutes). Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add the stock and whisk until the flour mixture dissolves. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Add the sausage, okra, and Cajun seasoning and cook until the sausage is fully cooked through and the okra is thawed and warmed (approximately 5 minutes).
Add the catfish to the pot and simmer until the catfish is just poached through (approximately 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
OPTIONAL: You could also add shrimp, crab meat, clams, mussels, or any other fish or shellfish and cook until fully poached.