Serves 4 / Difficulty – Hard / Prep 1 and cooks in 2 1/2 hrs
For this recipe to work in the UK you have to make the stewed tomatoes yourself and I swapped gumbo file powder for cornflour and andouille sausage for nduja and kielbasa sausage (nduja has the taste and kielbasa has the texture). If you cannot find nduja and kielbasa substitute for chorizo with has a similar taste but a much harder texture than andouille.
This freezes well so it’s worth making a batch of the gumbo and freezing in a few containers for a quick lunch or dinner.
- First make the stewed tomatoes. I make a batch using a whole 400g tin of tomatoes as this makes a nice alternative to the usual tinned tomatoes when making a pasta sauce. Take a frying pan and add the olive oil, chopped carrot, onion and celery and fry until the onion looks opaque. Then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook on a low heat. You can leave this cooking until you are ready to use.
- Make a roux by whisking the flour and 30g of the bacon fat together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns brown. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
- Place the celery, onion, green pepper, and garlic into a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the kielbasa sausage and nduja. Then bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in a teaspoon of cornflour at the 45-minute mark.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a frying pan, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, prawns, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavours have blended for another 45 minutes.
- Just before serving, take a small cup, add a teaspoon of cornflour and a few drops of water, stir to make a smooth white mixture and stir into the gumbo to thicken, add more if you don’t think it is thick enough.
Serve with boiled rice.