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    Mama's Seafood Gumbo

    Source of Recipe

    From "Bon Appétit, Y'all" by Virginia Willis

    Recipe Introduction

    "To quote the regional cookbook Louisiana Entertains, 'Good gumbos are like good sunsets: no two are exactly alike, and their delight lies in their variety.' All gumbos use a roux. However, in addition to a roux, some gumbos flavor and thicken with okra and others call for filé powder. Integral to Creole and Cajun cooking, filé powder is made from the dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It is used not only to thicken gumbo but also to impart its mild, lemon flavor. Filé powder should be stirred into gumbo toward the end of cooking or it will become tough and stringy."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    ◦ 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    ◦ 1 onion, preferably Vidalia, chopped
    ◦ 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
    ◦ 4 cups water or shrimp stock
    ◦ 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
    ◦ Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    ◦ 2 pounds large shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
    ◦ 1 pound jumbo lump or lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
    ◦ Hot sauce, for seasoning
    ◦ ¼ teaspoon filé powder (optional)
    ◦ Rice pilaf, for accompaniment


    In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring slowly and constantly, and cook to a medium-brown roux, about 30 minutes.

    Add the onion and bell pepper and stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables have wilted and are lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the water and tomato paste and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavorful and thickened, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

    Add the shrimp and crabmeat and stir to combine. Continue cooking over very low heat until the shrimp are cooked through, an additional 10 minutes. Season with hot sauce and stir in the filé powder, if using. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with rice pilaf.

    Serves 6 to 8




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