Fat Tuesday (or as I call it: Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday, aka Lent, when good Catholics give up something dear to them for 40 days to represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In a more secular sense, it’s also Mardi Gras, the biggest party in New Orleans. And what says Mardi Gras like a bowl of steaming seafood gumbo?
- 2 pounds unsalted butter
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 head finely chopped celery
- 1 large finely chopped onion
- 1 finely chopped poblano pepper, seeds removed
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can (up to 14.5 ounces) unseasoned chopped tomatoes
- 1 gallon (16 cups) lobster stock or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves, tied in cheesecloth
- 1/3 cup Tabasco
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon gumbo file
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 pounds andouille sausage, cut lengthwise then into 1/2-inch pieces (half-moon shape)
- 1 pound okra, ends removed and coined
- 6 ounces cooked chicken or shrimp (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a saucepot, melt butter. Combine flour and mix well to make the roux. Transfer roux to a casserole dish and place in pre-heated oven. Continue to cook until dark, approximately for 1 1/2 hours while stirring every 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and add celery, onions, and peppers. Mix well and set aside. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before adding liquid.
- Over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, add Worcestershire, tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaves, tabasco and seasonings; bring to a boil. Slowly add roux until well incorporated.
- If you have an immersion blender, purée the liquid mixture over medium-low heat; otherwise, remove from heat, cautiously purée in a blender and return to pot.
- If the mixture is too thick, add more stock as needed.
- Over medium heat, add the sausage, okra and chicken/shrimp; adjust seasoning to taste.
- Tip: A great way to prepare the okra before adding to mixture is to quickly sauté over high heat or flash-fry in a fryer. This will help the okra be less slimy.