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Backstreet Cafe Seafood Gumbo


  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced okra
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pressed garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 quarts seafood or fish stock (see note)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne peppers
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 pound (36- to 42-count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/4 pounds fish such as pollock or cod, cut into small chunks

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  1. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add okra and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes to prevent stringiness.
  2. Remove okra with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add remaining oil to skillet and heat until it is just at the smoking point; gradually add flour, whisking constantly to avoid burning, and cook until mixture turns dark brown to make a roux. The darker the roux, the richer the taste, but do not let it burn.
  4. Add onion, bell pepper and celery, a little at a time, and continue stirring while mixture cooks.
  5. Stir in garlic.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Bring stock to a boil in a large kettle. Stir roux into seafood stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  8. Add okra, bay leaves, salt, peppers, thyme and oregano. Simmer until okra is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Add shrimp and fish. Cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and fish is firm.

Yield: about 1 gallon

To make seafood stock, combine shrimp shells and 2 quarts water in a large kettle and simmer 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat. Strain shells; reserve stock.

Source: Backstreet Cafe, Houston, Texas