I love to bake. Love it. But cooking? Why, cooking requires using intuition, judgment, and ingredients more expensive than flour, baking powder, sugar, and butter.

Cooking is risky.

Fortunately, Chris is a fabulous cook. If you’ve eaten at our house, you know I don’t exaggerate. Me? I can generate about 14 different kinds of low-risk casseroles. And if I have some sort of jarred sauce (masala, I’m looking at you) from Trader Joe’s, I can add meat and veggies to make something exotic and healthy and yummy. But Chris? He can make fancy things. Like, from scratch.

Well, awhile ago I got it into my head that I wanted to make seafood gumbo. So, this weekend I bought the ingredients, donned my (super cute!) apron, said a little prayer, and made . . . .

. . . seafood gumbo.

The okra was a bit overcooked, and the genius at Whole Foods gave me chicken sausage instead of pork, but overall . . . success!

Also, I doubled the recipe, because as any mama knows, freezing meals ahead of time makes you feel like Super Woman come some random Wednesday night when nobody has any oomph to cook.

Finally, total disclosure: I come from the land of minute rice, so when I gave Chris a 15-minute warning that he was in charge of rice, he said (not very nicely), “Rice takes a whole hour to cook!”

“Then use the stuff from Trader Joe’s,” I said.

“ALL RICE takes an hour to cook!”

Hence the overcooked okra (and thank goodness I had held off on tossing in the shrimp, fish, and crab meat). Fortunately, a pitiful trembling chin on my part sweetened up Mr. Rice Takes an Hour To Cook. I mean, I only cook with noodles. How could I have known? And we had gotten that hyper healthy brown rice that you measure out from the container in the limousine-liberal (oh yes, I’m bringing politics into my cooking), yoga-fied, organic grain aisle. It doesn’t come with DIRECTIONS! (Fun fact: Whole Foods is owned by libertarians.)

Chris apologized for his rice snobbery and even contritely chopped the parsley.

Anyway, Chris declared it quite good, and it was. Charlotte didn't get to try any, as an allergy to shell fish runs on Chris's side of the family. Thus, Maryland-born as she may be, the girl does not get to try crab or any other shell fish until she has the vocabulary to say, "Mommy, my throat is closing up and my whole body itches."

The recipe is below the photos, if you want to give it a whirl. I’ve changed it enough that I don’t think I’m breaking any copyright laws. Besides, my way is better. (I added the step of the rue, and tweaked a few other things.) Note: I think it requires a lot more flour for the rue than the recipe calls for, but I like a thicker gumbo. If you like yours more brothy, stick to the recipe.


 About 84 ounces of Chris's precious homemade chicken stock, which he so benevolently insisted I use.

 "Whassthat?" Mommy's little helper.


 Before adding flour for the rue.

 Pantry/freezer items.

 Fresh basil and thyme from Chris's garden. And don't judge the pilsner glass. A Seahawks game was on, y'all.

 Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into thirds.

 One VERY full pot.

 The end product. I think Chris's leg is what really makes this picture.

And the dish ran away with the spoon . . . negotiating to get my wooden spoon back.

Serves 6

1/4 lb sweet or spicy sausage
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 14-oz cans of chicken broth (or steal some homemade from your spouse)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 11-oz bag frozen okra
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme (or use fresh)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil (or use fresh)
2 tsp cajun or creole seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2 lb crab meat
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 fillet (1/2 pound or so) white fish (I used Alaskan cod)

1. Put sausage in saucepan, fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-4 min. Drain, set aside. Slice when cool.
2. In large pot or medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, celery, and green pepper and cook until softened, about 5 min. Add flour and stir to make rue. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, okra, and reserved sausage. Cover, bring to a boil. Continue cooking, covered, over high heat for 5 min.
3. Add salt, spices, and Worcesthire sauce to pot. Cover and cook over high heat another 10 min.
4. Add scallions, shrimp, crabmeat, and fish. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 min. Remove bay leaf, stir in parsley, and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 min. Serve over rice.


Popular Posts