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Best (and Easiest) New Orleans Gumbo, The
5 stalks celery
3 big onions
1 large bell pepper
4 lbs. fresh okra or 4 packages frozen okra (total 28 to 32 oz.)
3 cloves garlic
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
9 to 12 live blueclaw Crabs or 2 to 3 dungenous Crabs or 1 lb. lump Crab meat
5 lbs. Shrimp (medium or large)
Chop celery, onions, pepper, okra, and garlic coarsely. In large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, melt 2 to 3 tablespoons shortening. Saute chopped celery, onions, pepper, okra, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until okra is no longer slimy and has begun to "glisten". Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2/3 can of the tomato sauce.
Transfer mixture to 5-gallon pot. Add water to nearly half-way mark. Add parsley and thyme. Simmer about half an hour. Add Crabs and keep simmering until gumbo thickens. Add Shrimp, raw, peeled, and whole. Bring to slow boil, cook half an hour. Serve over rice.
Serves 25 and then some.