Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo

The other day I found myself thumbing through an old issue of Coastal Living magazine.  In that Fall 2010 issue I found this recipe.  Enjoy!

Prep Time:  40 Minutes
Cooking Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings:  12


1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 (16 ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced
(next time I will use fresh sausage with casings removed)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 large celery ribs, chopped
1 medium head of garlic, about 8 cloves, crushed
3 cups fish stock or chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound fresh okra, sliced and baked
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined if desired
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon file powder, optional 

Okra is a key ingredient in any Gumbo.
The dish derives its name from the Bantu word for Okra (kingombo).

  • Pre-bake fresh okra for 20 minutes or so in a 325 degree oven. Transfer to a plate.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy soup pot.  Add sausage, and cook 3-4 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer sausage to a plate.
  • Add remaining oil to drippings in pot to equal 1/4 cup. Whisk in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, 20 minutes or so until mixture is a dark reddish-brown. This oil and flour mixture is called a "Roux" and adds a richness of flavor to the dish.  If you burn the roux by mistake, through it away and start the dish again.
  • The vegetable "Holy Trinity" of celery, bell peppers, and onions (w/garlic).
  • Stir in onion and next 4 ingredients, and saute over medium heat 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in stock and next 9 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 45 minutes.
  • Stir in sausage and shrimp, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Add crab, and simmer until heated. Remove bay leaves, and stir in parsley and file powder.
  • Serve gumbo over rice or grits. Season with hot sauce, if desired.

File powder, also called gumbo file, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree. Native to eastern North America, it adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture.  It can also act as a thickening agent.

Recipe Links:

Here is a link to the original recipe as published in Coastal Living, October 2010.

Here is a video of Scott Hargrove making gumbo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frijoles Negros - Cuban Black Beans

I've had this bag of dried black beans in my cupboard for a while now.   This weekend I decided to give those beans some life, Cuban style.  Very simple, flavorful, mild, and delicious. 

Prep Time:  20 Minutes
Soaking Time:  6-8 hours or overnight
Cooking Time:  1-1/2 to 2 hours
Servings:  12


1 pound of dry black beans, picked over and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 white onion - diced
4 cloves of garlic - mashed
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 splash balsamic vinegar

Mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle - add a pinch of salt while mashing.
The salt keeps the garlic from jumping out of the mortar.

Soak dried beans in water overnight
After soaking, the water should be a dark, inky black

  • Soak the beans overnight in 8 cups of water in a large soup pot.
  • Add bay leaves to the beans and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1-1/4 hours, or until the beans are very tender.
    The onions, garlic, and cumin create the seasoning or "sazon"
  • After the beans have cooked for an hour, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat; add the onions, garlic, cumin, and salt. Sweat the onion and then simmer gently covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
  • Add the cooked onion mixture (sazon), sugar, and vinegar to the beans; cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  
  • While simmering, take a potato masher and crush some of the beans in the pot. This thickens the juice.
  • Serve over cooked rice.

Recipe Links:

Here is the original video recipe which inspired the theme and seasoning for the dish.

Here is a link to the written piece which provided the structure of the dish.

Here's a link to the coolest building around.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp over Fettucini

This recipe was pilfered from the net via Blackberry while on vacation this Spring in the Florida Keys.  It was my son's birthday, and we asked him what he wanted for dinner.  We fully expected him to request a visit to one of the fine dining establishments along that particular stretch of Route 1.  
His response  "Dad, make us some shrimp, homemade, one of your recipes..."  Well, as you probably know, I don't "have" any recipes - I steal them.  
So, with the help of my Blackberry, and some really good luck I found this recipe. The results ended up being one of the best meals we had on vacation as well as a great addition to this Kid's repertoire - Enjoy!

Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Cooking Time:  15 Minutes
Servings:  4


1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chilled buter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Fettucini Pasta


  • Fill a large pot with salted water and prepare the ingredients so they are ready to go.
  • Turn on heat under large pot and slowly bring to a boil.
  • Boil wine, vinegar and garlic in a large non-stick saute pan until mixture is reduced to a 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. (This step can also be done in a separate smaller sauce pan, but I like to use the same pan for the shrimp as the sauce. There also ends up being one less pan to wash!)
  • Reduce heat to low.  Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, allowing butter to melt before adding more.
  • Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  • Transfer lemon garlic butter to a heat proof bowl, cover, and set aside.
  • Add pasta to boiling water in large pot and cook until al dente.  Drain once done.
  • Return saute pan to stove and heat oil over high heat.
  • Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.  Add to skillet and saute until shrimp are opaque in center, about 3 minutes.
  • Add reserved lemon garlic butter back to pan and briefly cook so that all shrimp are nicely coated and the sauce has a nice consistency.
  • Serve by placing about a cup of pasta on a plate and cover with one quarter of the shrimp mixture.
  • Sprinkle with lemon peel and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe Links:

Here is the original recipe from epicurious.

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