Fat Tuesday Style Shrimp & Andouille Gumbo

Early in my career I managed the kitchen at a small bed and breakfast in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia.  During this tenure I had the chance to meet several traveling business types that would ask me to recreate the food from their trips.  One such request in particular was for the iconic Cajun stew better known as Gumbo.

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This one pot wonder starts with the Trinity, a kin to it’s French cousin Mirepoix consisting of equal parts diced onion, celery, and peppers.  The Trinity is the base for almost all Cajun soups, stocks, and stews. I was always taught that if mother nature gives you flavor then you should use it, this is why I start with making a stock out of the shrimp shells that most people would just discard.

Ingredients:

Stock:
4 cups clam juice
4 cups water
2 celery stalks (large dice)
1 pepper (large dice)
1 large onion (large dice)
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp dill
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorn
shrimp shells from one pound of shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil

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Gumbo:
9 oz. of Andouille sausage cut into disks
1 pound 16/20 sized raw shrimp peeled and de-veined
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup small diced onion
1 cup small diced pepper
1 cup small diced celery
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco)
1 28oz. can of crushed tomato
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Old Bay
1/2 cup of rice

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Method:

For the Stock:
In a stock pot heat oil on high.  Add vegetables and shrimp and sauté until the onions become translucent.  Add garlic, herbs and spices, cook for 1 minute.  Add clam juice and water and bring to a simmer for at least 25-30 minutes. Strain and reserve for Gumbo.

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For the Gumbo:
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot on high and sear sausage.  Once sausage gets some color remove from pot and add shrimp and repeat the same process. The natural moisture from the shrimp should deglaze the pot.  Remove shrimp and add butter.  Stir in flour and reduce heat to medium.  Continue to cook the roux, constantly stirring to avoid scorching, until it turns a deep brown.  Add vegetables and cook until the onions become translucent. Add tomatoes, stock, rice, sausage, and herbs.  Bring to a simmer and add salt, hot sauce, and spices. Once the rice is cooked add the shrimp.  Simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

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