Shrimp Gumbo and Rice

Gumbo, although not regarded by purists as soup, is the Soupe de vie (Soup of Life) if you ask me. Actually, ask anyone who lives along the Gulf Coast. If you have good gumbo and a spoon, you are in for a well-seasoned venture into a bowl of  nut-brown, opaque broth stocked with shrimp, crab, fish, and/or a variety of meats. The “Cajun Trinity” of onion, bell pepper, and celery and the all-important roux separates gumbo from anything else that comes out of a kitchen. Like a jazz improvisation, gumbo can be divinely atypical, reflecting a cook’s mood, whim, and available ingredients.

When making gumbo, you can substitute shallots, bell peppers of any color, Chinese celery, or the red stalks of bok choy. In other words, make the recipe your own. Of course, if you want to stick to the traditional aromatics (as I did for this post), your gumbo can still be a festive brew that is thickset with your favorite seafood, meats, or greens. Shrimp gumbo is a good start for the beginner.  Cleaned and deveined frozen shrimp is easy to work with and saves cooking time. Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are convenient, flavorful additions to gumbo. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Salad Herb Blend works beautifully as a gumbo ingredient.  It includes parsley, red onion, chives, shallots, garlic, and dill. Add a few shakes of this herb blend while the gumbo is simmering and its flavor is enhanced and deepened. If you prefer a hit of spice in the gumbo, add a pinch or two of Litehouse Instantly Fresh Jalapenos as well. Of course, once the gumbo is ready, it must be served with steamy rice-- gumbo’s natural counterpart. Top the rice with Litehouse Instantly Fresh Spring Onion and serve on weekday or a holiday. Anytime is great for gumbo.  

Shrimp Gumbo and Rice

Serves 4 | Finish in 55 minutes
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Litehouse Instantly Fresh Salad Blend is not just for salads. Try it in soups as well, such as this Shrimp Gumbo and Rice. This blend of herbs and shallots adds a kick of the flavor to hot foods.

Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil,
½ cup unbleached flour,
1 ½ pound raw frozen shrimp cleaned and deveined,
2 quarts seafood stock,
½ cup diced celery,
½ cup diced green pepper,
1 cup diced onion,
1 14-ounce cans whole tomatoes,
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt,
1/2 tsp. white pepper,
1 tsp. thyme,
3 bay leaves,
1 Tbsp. gumbo file powder (ground sassafras leaves),
½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke,
1 tablespoon Litehouse Instantly Fresh Salad Herb Blend,
1 teaspoon Litehouse Instantly Fresh Jalapenos (optional),

Rice (4 servings),
2 cups white rice,
1 Tbsp. olive oil,
4 cups water,
1 tsp. salt,
2 tablespoons Litehouse Instantly Fresh Chives plus more for garnish,

Directions

Directions: Shrimp Gumbo,
1. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add flour to pan and stir oil and flour consistently until flour becomes milk chocolate brown. The mixture should be similar to paste. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

2. Pour seafood stock into soup pot. Add roux and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer the stock and roux. Stir the roux until lumps disappear.

3. Add vegetables along with salt pepper and spices and Litehouse Instantly Fresh Salad Herb Blend. Add file powder.

4. Cover and simmer gumbo for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally until liquid begins to thicken.

5. Add Liquid Smoke and frozen shrimp. Cook for three additional minutes or until shrimp turns pink and begins to curl.

Directions: Rice with Chives

1. Rinse rice (if purchased in bulk). Otherwise, place rice in 3-quart pot with water and oil and salt. Bring water to boil and immediately turn heat to low and place tight-fitting lid on pot. Steam rice for 25 minutes.

2. When rice is done, place rice in serving bowl and stir in Litehouse Instantly Fresh Chives.

3. Garnish rice in bowls with a sprinkling of Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs


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