Readers, Digest: Southern seafood gumbo

Christina Saschin

Prepare a Southern-inspired gumbo to celebrate Mardi Gras.Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Mardi Gras is celebrated with lots of food, music and parades in New Orleans. Since gumbo is one of the most popular dishes in Louisiana, I thought I should make my own seafood gumbo.
While there are different versions, seafood gumbo and chicken and sausage gumbo are the most common. Traditionally, file and okra are used to thicken this stew-like dish. File is ground sassafras and okra is a vegetable high in fiber.

This gumbo features seafood, spices and a variety of produce, including fiber-rich okra.Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 5 1-cup servings
1/2 cup assorted frozen seafood mix
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
2 stalks celery
1/2 onion
3/4 cup frozen cut okra
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon file
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 cup flour

Chop the green and red bell pepper, onion and celery and put in a large bowl and set aside. Next, measure 3/4 cup frozen cut okra and set aside.

To make a roux, coat a medium sized pan with 1/2 cup of olive oil and slowly add 1/2 cup flour. Stir the mixture continuously over low heat until it thickens. Set roux aside.

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and saute the bell peppers, onion and celery. Cook seafood in another pan, coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Combine sauteed vegetables, cooked seafood and okra in a large pot. Pour the can of tomatoes, with the sauce, into the pot. Stir ingredients together and add 1/2 cup of water. Let the gumbo simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

After 20 minutes, add the cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika and salt. Then, slowly add the roux, stirring it all together.

Let the gumbo sit for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the file. Serve with rice.

Serve the gumbo with rice and enjoy.Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Christina Saschin can be reached at [email protected] or @Stina127 on Twitter.