Seafood Gumbo



Ingredients

100 g plain flour
100 ml olive oil
1 litre fish stock, strained
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped
500 g okra
800 g can tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
12 green prawns, peeled and de-veined
18 black mussels
1 kg white fish fillets
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce salt and pepper
3 cups cooked rice
6 blue swimmer crab claws, cooked fresh basil leaves fresh thyme leaves


Method:

1. Mix the flour and oil in a large saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the flour turns ‘chocolate’ brown, about 15 minutes.

2. Stir in the stock and cook for 56 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened.

3. stir in the garlic, onion, celery, capsicum and okra and cook over low heat for 56 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

4. Stir in the prawns, mussels and fish, and poach for 34 minutes until cooked.Season with Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper.

5. Spoon ½ cup rice into each bowl and ladle over the soup. Decorate with crab claws, basil and thyme.


HINTS AND TIPS:


* You will needcutting board, cook’s knife, paring knife, wooden spoon, cup, weight, liquid and spoon measures, heavy-based pot.

* It is very important to get the flour and oil mixture (a roux) to be chocolate brown before proceeding. This adds the unique flavour that a gumbo should have.

* Finishing this soup with file powder or okra is entirely optional and any cook who suggests that it isn’t a gumbo without these ingredients must not be aware of how many hundreds of versions of this soup there really areI’m almost embarrassed by providing just one.

* Apart from the dark roux, the other point that is very important is the use of a good fish stock in this recipe. Water, although passable, will not deliver the goods.

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