Gumbo, and National Pig Day

Apparently, my order for a brief, mild winter got lost in the shuffle. So, while I wait for winter skies' shade of ugh to lift, I'll console myself with this stew. More precisely, Cajun Seafood Gumbo.

This dish originated in Louisiana, and it is a deliciously thick and spicy pool of shrimp, crab, and my favorite vegetable, andouille sausage.

However, the heart and soul of this Gumbo is the roux.

Wait! Come back!

This is not the whisk-until-your-arm-falls-off roux you've heard about. This roux goes from blah to a rich, chocolate brown in 20 minutes.
O,'tis true. And haven't I always told you some version of the truth?

Whether you use seafood, chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables, this dish will satisfy. Fact.
And, as is the case with most soups and stews, Gumbo will taste even better the following day.

Seafood Gumbo

2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 small stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste (add additional salt only toward end of cooking)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1 tablespoon dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons fresh basil
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup AP flour, or more if needed
5 to 6 cups homemade fish stock, but chicken stock will do**
1 pound andouille (or other spicy sausage), sliced
1 pound crabmeat
2 pounds shrimp or crawfish
Cooked rice

In a Dutch oven, brown the andouille sausage, or meat of your choosing. Remove the sausage from the Dutch oven, and set aside.

To make the roux, heat the canola oil in the same Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the flour. Whisk constantly, until roux reaches a dark brown color, resembling chocolate buttercream. The whole process will take about 20 minutes.
When the roux is dark and thick, add the vegetables and spices. Stir for a few more minutes to soften vegetables.

Stir the fish (or chicken) stock into the roux and vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer. Add the sausage, and simmer with the pot mostly covered for about 1 hour.
Gently stir in the crabmeat, and shrimp (or crawfish) during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking.

*You can substitute Kielbasa for the spicy Andouille sausage. If using the former, you might want to increase the cayenne pepper. But taste first, before adding more heat.

**Introduce flavor whenever possible. If you're out of fish stock, use chicken, or vegetable stock.

"Water? Never!" Marysol cried, recoiling in horror.

Adapted from the River Run Cookbook by Jimmy and Maya Kennedy.

Btw, did you know March 1 is National Pig Day?
My sources (Google) tell me this is an event most often celebrated in the Midwest.

...and this is what my Hamrietta thinks about this holiday...

Preach it, sister!