I went to Frederick, Maryland last weekend to visit some very close friends and had some unbelievably tasty seafood. Sad to leave and still nostalgic, I decided to make something for our housewarming potluck that would be Maryland-influenced. Gumbo won out. It is seriously easy. And cheap.
In a big dutch oven, crumble the contents of an entire package of hot italian sausages (sans casings) and set aside on paper towels. We’ll add that at the last minute before serving. Using the leftover oil, sautee two packs of frozen, pre-cut okra for 10-15 minutes, or until the slime is reduced by a lot. While that’s going, dice the big gumbo trifecta: one big onion, one green pepper (or more), and about three ribs of celery. When the okra starts losing a lot of its moisture and begins to brown, add the diced vegetables, plus salt, pepper, two bay leaves, and about half a tablespoon of cayenne or paprika.
The mixture should start to cook down so help it by stirring every once in a while to release steam and moisture. When the onions turn translucent, add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup tomatoes or canned tomatoes and a quart of fish broth. (I didn’t have fish broth but I did have a big container of lobster broth I made from boiling lobster shells earlier this Spring). Cover and let it simmer for half an hour. I made this the night before a potluck so I stopped at this point. I figured I’d add the shrimp at the last minute to make sure it was nice and tender before serving.
Last but not least, reheat the entire pot just before serving and add between 1/4 and a 1/3 of a bag of frozen shrimp and the crumbled sausage. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, and you’ve just made yourself a friggin awesome pot of creole-style shrimp gumbo!!