Cagle’s Cajun Gumbo
10 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 cans fresh lump crab (or 5 pounds lump crab meat)
1 ½ tbls cayenne ground red pepper
1 ½ tbls paprika
1 tbls salt
½ tbls white pepper
½ tbls black pepper
½ tbls dried thyme leaves
½ tbls dried oregano leaves
1 ½ cups margarine
5 cups chopped onions
5 cups chopped celery
5 cups chopped green peppers
2 containers gumbo filet powder
6 tbls (or more) Tabasco sauce
1 tbls minced garlic
4-6 cans tomato sauce
4-6 cans water (use tomato sauce cans to measure)
*Note: Make sure the onions, celery and green peppers are chopped similar in size, otherwise, the flavors will not be consistent. All should be small.
Melt margarine over medium heat. Turn to high and stir in gumbo file, Tabasco, garlic and seasoning mix. Stir carefully until spices marry. Add onions, celery and bell peppers. Cook six minutes while constantly stirring. Make sure to scrape pot bottom well with a spoon as the mixture will begin sticking. This adds to the gumbo’s flavor. Add tomato sauce and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
While the gumbo is cooking, make a black or red roux. The proportion of oil to flour is 50-50. Heat oil to smoking. Stir in flour gradually, about 1/3 at a time, whisking constantly to avoid burning. When the roux reaches the desired color, toss in some celery, onions and green peppers and remove it from the heat. Stir another 3-5 minutes, then add to gumbo. This will thicken the gumbo noticeably and add to the flavor. Simple rule: If more thickening is needed, add more roux…or tomato paste if you’re lazy. The finished product should be thicker than soup, but not as thick as gravy.
After an hour, add the shrimp and crab, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 30-60 minutes. Serve over Cajun or regular rice with crackers or French bread.
Gumbo is actually better the following day. Store covered in refrigerator. Heat, adding water if mixture is too thick. Serve the same way