2 pounds of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 cups of dark oven roux
1 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
1 (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, with liquid,
1 quart of shrimp stock or chicken stock/broth
2 teaspoons of Slap Ya Mama White Pepper Blend,
or your favorite, Cajun seasoning
1/2 tablespoon of canola oil
1/2 pound of smoked regular or andouille
2 cups of sliced okra
Salt and pepper, only to taste
Gumbo filé, optional
Warm the roux over medium high heat in a large heavy bottom pot, stirring constantly. I use my cast iron dutch oven. Add the onion, celery and green pepper to the hot roux, cooking and stirring for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, but leave the burner on.
Chop the tomatoes, reserving the liquid. I use a pair of kitchen shears to chop them up right in the can. Add the tomatoes with their liquid to roux mixture and return pot to heat. Add 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning. Stir in the shrimp stock or chicken broth; return to a boil, reduce heat to just under medium, and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the canola oil to a separate skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. To that same skillet, add the okra; cook and stir until slightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the okra to the gumbo pot. Add the sausage and cover the pot; continue simmering.
Add the raw shrimp to the pot and allow it to simmer a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed. Serve over hot cooked rice and sprinkle individual bowls with gumbo filé, if desired. Pass a bottle of Tabasco for some extra kick and add some hot, buttered French bread or rolls and a side salad.
*Use less roux if you like a thinner gumbo; more if you like it thicker. If you don't already have an oven roux made, make a roux by combining equal parts canola oil and all purpose flour. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until roux reaches a deep, dark color.
Note: Remember, if you are using andouille, go light on any additional Cajun seasoning. Add a little, taste and adjust. If you are using a regular smoked sausage, you will likely want to use a bit more Cajun seasoning. Again, use a little, taste and adjust.
Okra and Gumbo filé: I used pre-sliced, frozen okra for this gumbo. Gumbo filé, or filé powder, is a seasoning made from ground sassafras leaves and tastes a bit like savory and thyme mixed together. It is often stirred into gumbo at the end of cooking (but never boiled) to act as a thickener as a substitute for okra, or when fresh okra is out of season. Besides thickening, it also imparts a unique flavor to the gumbo, so even when using okra I still like to sprinkle a little into each serving bowl.