- 2 cups of diced onions
- 1.5 cups of diced green bell peppers
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 2 cups of halved button mushrooms
- 3 large cloves of finely diced garlic
- 2 finely diced habañeros (hot peppers)
- 10 thick-cut slices of bacon
- 1 pound of Cajun-style sausage
- 1 pound of peeled, medium-sized shrimp
- 0.5 pound of scallops
- 0.75 pound white fish cut into slices
- 1 small tin of anchovies
- 2 bay leaves
- 0.5 teaspoons of dried thyme leaves
- 0.25 teaspoons of dried oregano
- 0.5 teaspoons of salt
- 1.5 teaspoons of white pepper
- 0.5 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 0.5 teaspoons of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of Gumbo File
- 5.5 cups of chicken stock
- Lots of butter
- 0.75 cup flour
- 1 bottle of dry sherry
If you can't get Cajun-style sausage, then Polish sausage will do nicely. Note that the teaspoon quantities in the list of ingredients do not refer to level measures, nor do we expect you to attempt to achieve a new world record for the amount you can balance on one spoon - just try to aim for roughly the same sensuously-rounded profile you get when you're casually spooning sugar into a cup of coffee (except in the case of the cayenne pepper ... you should try to err on the side of caution here). So, without further ado, let's gird up our loins (Good golly Miss Molly, that felt good - how was it for you?) and proceed to the fray:
First of all, there's an art to cooking, and it starts by doing the washing up you've been putting off all day and putting all of the pots away.
Grill the bacon until it's crispy and crunchy, then put it on a plate to cool and set it to one side.
Prepare all of the vegetables, mushrooms, scotch bonnets, and garlic - put them all in separate bowls except for the scotch bonnets and garlic which can go together.
Chop the Cajun-style sausage into half-inch pieces, then put them in a bowl and set it to one side.
Mix the salt, thyme, oregano, Gumbo File, and the white, black, and cayenne peppers together in a cup and set it to one side (you'll need your hands free later).
Wash up all of the knives, chopping boards, and everything else you've used and put them all away, then wipe down all of your working surfaces. Trust us - you'll feel better when everything is clean and tidy - have we ever lied to you?
Put the chicken stock into a large chili pan and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low, slow simmer and leave it on the back burner
Using a medium to medium-high heat, melt three-quarters of a cup of butter in a large, heavy skillet until it starts to bubble. Gradually add the flour using a whisk and stir constantly until the resulting roux is a dark-ish, red-ish brown. Remove the skillet from the heat, but keep on stirring until it's cooled down enough so that the mixture won't stick to it and burn.
Maintain the stock at a low simmer and add the mixture that you've just made, stirring it in one spoonful at a time, and waiting for each spoonful to dissolve before adding the next.
Clean the skillet, put it on a medium-high to high heat, and melt a chunk of butter. Stirring all the time, saute the celery for one minute, add the bell peppers and saute for one and a half minutes, add the onions and saute for one and a half minutes, then add the scotch bonnets and garlic along with the mixture of herbs, salt, and pepper and saute for one more minute. Finally, add a slosh of sherry and keep stirring until it's all evaporated, then chuck the whole lot into the chili pan with the stock (you can drink the rest of the sherry later).
Break the bacon into half-inch pieces and toss them into the stock, followed by the Cajun-style sausage and the bay leaves. Also, should you be fortunate enough to happen to have any lying around, add a couple of teaspoons of English Worcestershire sauce. Cover the chili pan and leave on a low simmer.
Return the skillet to a medium-high to high heat and melt another chunk of butter. Saute the mushrooms until they're golden brown and squealing for more, then use them to swell the contents of the chili pan.
Simmer the whole mixture (stirring often) for at least one hour which, by some strange quirk of fate, will give you all the time you need to wash the skillet and the dishes you used and put them away again. If you're ravenous then you can proceed immediately to the next step but, if you're wise, you'll remove the heat and leave your cunningly captivating creation to stand overnight (chilies, stews, curries, and gumbos always taste better if the ingredients have the time to formally introduce themselves). When you're ready to chow-down, heat it back up again and proceed to the next step.
Add the shrimp, scallops, and fish. Bring to the boil then return to a simmer. Maintain the simmer until the seafood is cooked (we personally opt for around fifteen minutes just to make sure) and you're just about ready to rock and roll.
This pert little beauty will put hairs on your chest, make them curl, and then take them off again. Seriously, this gumbo really is seductively, scintillatingly, scorchingly spicy - so if you like your dishes less on the humongously hot side, then lose one of the scotch bonnets and only use three-quarters of the stated amounts of the white, black, and cayenne peppers.
You can serve your gorgeously gigantean gourmet gumbo over steamed or boiled rice, with crusty French bread, or with whatever else your hearts' desire. The quantities given above will serve six to eight manly-man sized portions with a little something left over for the following day. Of course, no meal would be complete without some wine -- and the perfect complement to your rapacious repast is to be found in ...... a very large bottle -- Enjoy!