2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1½ medium green bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped (about 1½ cups)
2-3 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1½ teaspoons ground red pepper (cayenne), or more to taste
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1 cup peanut or canola oil
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
7 cups fish or seafood stock
2-3 pounds uncooked fish, cut into 1-inch pieces
9 cups cooked rice
8 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
COMBINE onions, peppers, celery and garlic in a large bowl. In small bowl, combine salt, black, white and red peppers, thyme, oregano and basil. Measure out oil and flour.
HEAT oil in large heavy pot over very high heat to make roux; when it begins to smoke, begin adding flour, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high (or medium if roux is browning too quickly). Whisk constantly until roux reaches very dark brown in color, like dark chocolate. This should take 15 to 45 minutes, depending on heat. If burned black specks appear you will need to start over, so go slowly.
REMOVE from heat when roux is dark and thick as frosting. Add vegetables and spice mix; stir with spoon until well combined.
BRING stock to boil in another pot. Whisk in all of roux-vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, mostly covered, for 30 minutes.
ADD fish and let cook just until opaque in center. Serve gumbo ladled over mounds of rice in shallow bowls, topped with cheddar.
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