We had friends over on Saturday and wanted to prepare something simple, and picked a gumbo recipe because they always have great depth and layers of flavor. Shrimp cook quickly, and just about everything else this recipe calls for can be done in advance, so this is stress-free entertaining at its best.
We must have had shrimp on our minds because it was also the occasion of Sans Soucy Vineyards’ annual Shrimp and Wine Festival. We couldn’t go since we had to work the tasting room.
Gumbo usually calls for a roux for thickening – a laborious browning of flour in oil until it’s a rich, deep brown. One of our guests has gluten issues, so it was easy to adapt this by eliminating the roux and substituting corn starch, which is added in the end. And this saves you 45 minutes standing over the stove, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can even make the base ahead of time (even the day before), bring it to room temperature and chill until you’re ready. Take the recipe to step three (below) then refrigerate; when ready to serve, just re-heat to a simmer, brown the sausage and add the okra, shrimp, sausage and scallions.
Serve this ladled over white rice, with a fresh green salad on the side. The cayenne pepper gives a pleasant subtle heat, so an off-dry white like our 2011 Viognier works well. We served it with our 2011 Rosé, but then we’re serving that wine with everything these days.
Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Gumbo
- 2 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and shells reserved
- 14 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 10 oz fresh or frozen baby okra, thawed if frozen, trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (2 cups)
- 1/2 lb fresh or frozen andouille sausage, thawed if frozen, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (other smoked pork sausage may be substituted)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Simmer shrimp shells and water, uncovered, in an 8-quart pot until liquid is reduced to about 12 cups, 15 to 20 minutes, then pour through a sieve set over a large bowl and discard shells.
- Wipe out the same pot, add the oil and heat over moderate heat. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper and saute until onion is softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add shrimp stock to the vegetable mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, then add salt, and cayenne and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.
- While the gumbo simmers, brown the sausage in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Add okra and simmer until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in shrimp and simmer until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Dissolve cornstarch in a half cup of water, add to gumbo and simmer for another three minutes. Stir the sausage into gumbo with scallions and salt to taste.
Serve with steamed white rice and hot-pepper sauce, such as Tobasco.