A good New Orleans meal often starts with a hearty cup of gumbo, and a dinner party is no exception. A classic restaurant in the New Orleans food scene, Arnaud’s gumbo is a balance of hearty vegetables, flavorful herbs, rich seafood and a medley of spices. Here is their secret chef recipe for the best gumbo you’ve ever had. Serve this saucy, crab infused dish piping hot, over warm, fluffy jasmine rice.
Arnaud Restaurant’s New Orleans Gumbo
- 2 quarts shrimp or fish stock
- 4 tomatoes, diced (or use a 16-oz can, drained)
- 4 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons all purpose-flour
- 1-1/2 cups finely chopped celery
- 2 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
- 2 cups finely chopped stemmed and seeded green pepper (about 3 peppers)
- 2 small cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 crabs, cleaned and quartered
- 10 ounce package frozen cut okra
- ½ cup finely chopped green onion
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds crab or shrimp (40/50 count), peeled
- Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
In a large soup pot, combine the shrimp stock and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a heavy sauce pan, make the roux. Heat the bacon drippings or vegetable oil over medium fire. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the roux reaches the color of chocolate. Be careful not to let it scorch. (This will take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes). Add the celery, onions and green peppers and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Stir in the garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Carefully add the roux to the soup pot- it tends to spit and pop when it hits the liquid-and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the crab pieces, okra, green onion and parsley and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities if necessary, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot.
After 45 minutes, stir in the pepper, cayenne and shrimp. Taste before adding salt (the salt in the stock and tomatoes may be sufficient).
Cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary before serving over fluffy cooked rice.
Photo credit: Arnaud’s New Orleans