I was looking for something different to make for dinner the other night and seafood gumbo came to mind. I’d never made a gumbo before and did some research. There is a spice mix called Cajun
spice mix that I was pretty sure I could find at Fairway. While I was there I picked some petite lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, and sausages.
Any gumbo requires a roux. This is a thickener made of equal amounts by weight of vegetable oil and flour. For this style of Louisiana cooking, a dark roux is preferred for the depth of flavor it brings to the dish. The thickening power is weakened by the long cooking time but that’s easily remedied by adding okra during the cooking or sprinkling a little filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree) in the bowls.
There are two ways to make a roux either on the stovetop (30-40 minutes) or in the oven (1 ½ hours). I was in no hurry that afternoon and wanted to do some other things and opted to make the roux in the oven. The stovetop version requires a little more attention. The oven version you only have to stir a couple of times, so I set the timer for 30 minutes twice and gave a quick stir each time.
I diced up lots of aromatics: onions, celery, green and red bell peppers, scallions and garlic for a flavorful base with chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes and sausages to round out the soup base.
To easily extract the lobster tails, I cut through the underside with kitchen shears before cooking. I wanted the lobster shells in the broth to add flavor, but would remove them before serving. These went in first for ten minutes followed by the shrimp and scallops and cooked for another 5-6 minutes. Don’t boil or the seafood will toughen.
Serve this in a bowl with a serving of rice in the middle and surround that with the gumbo and top with a handful of sliced scallion greens.
- 2 ounces vegetable oil
- 2 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced bell peppers
- 1 cup sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
- 4 smoked sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups stock
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) fire-roasted or diced tomatoes
- 4 petite lobster tails
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 sea scallops
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Sliced scallions
- Whisk the oil and flour together in a small heavy-bottomed skillet. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring 3 times.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed large saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in the onion and salt and sweat for 10 minutes.
- Add the celery, peppers and scallions and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and Cajun spice mix and cook until fragrant.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the sausages, stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- The stew can be made in advance to this point. Thirty minutes before dinner, bring the gumbo back to a boil and then add the lobster tails. Simmer for 12 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and scallops and continue cooking on low for 5-6 minutes.
- Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.