Ok. First a disclaimer. It is my firm belief that homemade food is always the very best food in the world, and I don't like to use hardly any pre-packaged or processed foods. However, what I DO appreciate are ready-to-go spice blends (provided they don't contain unnecessary junk.) In this recipe, I use the following:
It's just a blend of spices with a little bit of wheat flour and corn starch to serve as thickening agents. And it's created by people who know what they're doing. Tony Chachere's seasonings are some of my favorites in the whole wide world. So this is a shortcut I fully embrace. It keeps me from having to stir roux for an hour (although I still like to do that sometimes too), and it has almost just as much flavor as homemade, so it's easy to elevate with just a few simple additions. Here is how I used it this time:
1 pound andouille sausage
1 each red, green, yellow bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 boxes Tony Chachere's gumbo mix
water and/or seafood stock (I used about half and half)
2 pounds seafood combination of choice (I used peeled, de-veined shrimp, oysters, scallops and crab.)
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or to taste--honestly, I'm sure I probably added more)
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning (same note as Old Bay)
Tabasco sauce to taste
6-8 cups prepared rice or quinoa (I like quinoa for the nutritional value, but rice is what most people enjoy with their gumbo, so I always serve both.)
1. Slice sausage and begin to saute in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
2. Add peppers and onion to sausage and saute until vegetables become tender.
Side note: Did y'all know that pretty much anything that begins with this ends very, very well? :-D
3. Add gumbo mix and water (or seafood stock) according to package directions. I believe this particular box called for 6 cups of water. I added 2 boxes of seasoning mix, 1 box seafood stock, and the rest water. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for as long as you like. (You can't really overcook gumbo as long as you keep the heat low. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste.)
4. After it simmers for awhile, add Old Bay and Tony Chachere's seasonings. Simmer a bit more and taste for flavor. (Keep in mind your seafood will contribute to the flavor too, but you still want to make sure the taste is close to where you want it before you dump your seafood in there.)
5. Continue to simmer at low heat until all seafood is cooked through.
6. Add more Old Bay or Tony Chachere's to taste if needed.
7. Serve over rice or quinoa with a little Tabasco drizzled over the top.
One of my all-time favorite meals!