I was looking for something different to make for dinner the other night and Shellfish and Sausage 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 or butter 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 to the pot or sprinkling a little filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree) to each bowl.
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, 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 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 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 and removed 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 toughens.
Mound some rice in a bowl and surround with the gumbo and top with a handful of sliced scallion greens.
Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo
Don’t skimp on the dark roux – it adds lots of flavor that is typical of a gumbo. Use file powder to thicken the gumbo, let each individual sprinkle over his/her own bowl.
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
- Yield: 6 portions 1x
- Category: Stews and Braises
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk the oil and flour together in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring 3 times.
- Stir in the onion and salt and sweat for 10 minutes.
- Add the celery, peppers and scallions to the roux and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and Cajun spice mix and cook until fragrant.
- 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.
Don’t boil the gumbo after adding the shellfish; it gets very tough.