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Seafood Gumbo

Recipe via Brenda Buenviaje & 7x7

For the roux:
1 cup lard, shortening or vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour

For the shellfish stock*:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Shells from 3 lbs raw shrimp
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 to 3 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, washed and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 quarts water
3 The Spice Hunter Bay Leaves
About 12 The Spice Hunter Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp The Spice Hunter Organic Thyme
* If you don't want to bother with this step, it's ok to use 2.5 quarts bottled or canned clam juice or a store-bought seafood base.

For the rice:
2 cups long grain white rice
Water for rinsing
3.5 cups water

For the gumbo:
3 tbsp canola oil
1.5 lbs andouille sausage or any smoked pork sausage of your choice, sliced into ½ moons
1 tbsp The Spice Hunter Organic Thyme
The Spice Hunter Bay Leaves
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
2 large green bell peppers, diced
1 1/2 lbs fresh or defrosted, frozen sliced okra cut into 1/4" rounds
2.5 quarts seafood stock
Roux to desired consistency and taste (about 1 cup)
2 whole dungeness crabs, precooked, carapace and lungs removed, bodies broken in 1/4s
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp The Spice Hunter Black Peppercorns
1 tsp The Spice Hunter Red Pepper Cayenne
3 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
Sliced scallion for garnish

Make the roux:
Simmer over medium flame, stirring consistently until it becomes the color of dark chocolate, about 45 minutes. Make sure not to burn it—burnt roux will make your gumbo bitter. If you have leftover roux after making your gumbo, it will keep in the freezer forever.

Make the shellfish stock (if using):
Heat oil in a large pot and add shrimp shells and chopped vegetables. Sauté for about 10 minutes until vegetables are lightly brown. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 quarts water and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower flame and simmer uncovered for an hour. Strain well through a sieve and discard solids.

Make the rice:
Rinse rice until water runs clear. Bring rice and water to a boil, lower flame, cover and steam over very low flame for 20 minutes.

Make the seafood gumbo:
In a large pot, heat oil then add sausage, thyme and bay leaves. Sauté until sausage is lightly browned. Add garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper, then sauté until vegetables become soft. Add stock and okra*, bring to a boil, then thicken with roux to desired consistency. Add crab and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper; let simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add shrimp to hot gumbo and steep until shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve each bowl topped with steamed rice and scallion.

* If using fresh okra, par-fry slices in a lightly oiled pan over high heat. Make sure pan is not overcrowded or the okra will begin to steam and become slimy.

 Photo credit: Patricia Chang