Authentic Gumbo by Gram Holly (naturally gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free)

I feel a little badly about posting this recipe on my blog, because really it should go on Holly’s blog where she has both wonderful recipes and fantastic food photography. After all its her grandmother’s recipe and her inspiration. But I did make it, eat it, and photograph it and I can attest to the fact that this is the only gumbo recipe that you’ll ever need. Its got the perfect balance of piquant and savory, and its both summery and satisfying. Even Thomas said that you can’t taste any “okra-ness.” The only (small) issue that I had, was that the recipe was so full of ingredient-love, that I almost couldn’t fit it all in the pan! Use the biggest one you have!

After  you read Holly’s recipe here, I hope you will take a moment to visit her blog and see pictures of her and her amazing grandmother. Thanks Holly and Holly for the inspiration, and for a recipe that I will keep forever!

Everything from here on down, is verbatim from both Hollies (is that how you spell Holly when there is more than one?), except for one little note I made about the scallions.

Gram’s Gumbo

  1. Heat up a large, heavy saute pan over medium heat.  Add the bacon, stirring occasionally.  Once the pan has filled with fat rendered from the bacon, add the andouille and cook for 6-8 minutes (you want them to get a little crispy). Remove the sausage and bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
  2. Keeping with the same pan, add the onions and cook over medium-high, until they become limp.  Stir in the green pepper, celery, okra, and garlic.  Add salt and pepper and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the entire can of tomatoes, clam juice, vermouth, bay leaf, spices, thyme, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Stir, and reduce it to simmer (med-low) for 45 minutes (you want to see some bubbles popping up, but nothing rapid).
  4. After 45 minutes, taste and add more or less red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to your likeness. Add the andouille sausage and bacon back into the mixture.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium and add the shrimp. Allow it to cook until the shrimp turn pink. Add the oysters, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and the cornstarch slurry.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens.

[6. add the fresh scallions, cooking for one minute] (my note)

Serve hot over rice, cornbread or as it is.

*In the spring/summer my gram uses less cornstarch and more lemon juice, in the fall/winter she uses more cornstarch and less lemon juice to create a thicker, heartier gumbo.  It is great both ways.