Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 22, 2022

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Shrimp gumbo

Holland's gumbo is a tomato and okra combination with lots of shrimp and chicken

Holland’s mother and her three sisters all grew up in the same household in Louisiana, but they all cook different versions of gumbo. Her version is slightly different from the one her mom makes, a tomato and okra combination with lots of shrimp and chicken. She leaves out the tomatoes and adds a dark roux like her aunt Maxine.

1 head garlic
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. (250 ml) vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp. (15 ml)
1 c. (250 ml) all-purpose flour
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
8 c. (2 L) chicken stock
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) Creole spice mix (recipe follows)
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) gumbo filé powder
1 lb. (455 g) okra, trimmed and cut into ½-in(12-mm) rounds
2 lbs. (910 g) cooked chicken, shredded
2 lbs. (910 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
cooked rice for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cut the garlic in half widthwise and put both halves on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and roast until the garlic is tender, 1 hour.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil over medium-high heat until very hot and almost smoking. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is a deep caramel color, 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, bell pepper and onion, and cook until quite soft, 20 minutes.

Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add to the pot, along with the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and whisk in the roux. Cook until the gumbo base begins to thicken, 10 minutes.

Stir in the Creole spice mix and the gumbo filé powder. Add the okra and cook until tender, 10 minutes. Add the chicken and the shrimp, and cook just until the shrimp is opaque in the centre, 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over rice, if desired. Serves 6 to 8. (To make ahead, refrigerate the gumbo in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.)

Creole spice mix

3 tbsp. (45 ml) salt
3 tbsp. (45 ml) herbes de Provence
3 tbsp. (45 ml) ground cumin
1/3 c. (80 ml) cayenne pepper
¼ c. (60 ml) freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. (60 ml) sweet paprika

In a small bowl, stir together the salt, herbes de Provence, cumin, cayenne, black pepper and paprika until thoroughly combined. Makes about 1½ cups (375 ml). (To make ahead, store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.)

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Showing 1 comments

  1. On September 15, 2014, Dominick Amato said:
    It's an awful lot of creole spice mix: ~335-350 ml, good for 6 mos. if stored airtight. Since the recipe calls for only 7.5 ml, you'd have to make about 45-50 batches of gumbo in 6 months so as not to waste the spice mix. Even halving the recipe, you'd have to make 20-25 batches (3-4 per month!). I like gumbo, but not a big batch for 6-8 people every week or two.

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