When the CSA gives you okra, you gotta make gumbo. When you make gumbo, you gotta make a roux. A really dark roux. Really dark roux requires stirring fat and flour in a pot over a hot stove. In my previous attempts to make a brown roux, I watched it turn from white—to beige—to black. Fortunately Alton Brown has come up with a solution. The roux toasts in the oven, and only requires occasional stirring.
4 ounces vegetable oil
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 pound raw, whole, medium-sized (31-50 count) shrimp
1 pound lump crab meat, picked for shells
½ crab legs (optional)
1 quart seafood stock
2 cups sliced okra
1 cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced green peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomato
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
½ pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch pieces and browned
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.
While the roux is baking, peel and devein the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a bowl and set in the refrigerator.
Once the roux is done, carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Gently add the okra, onions, celery, green peppers and garlic and cook, moving constantly for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and hot sauce (if using) and stir to combine. Gradually add the shrimp broth while whisking continually. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp, crab, crab legs and sausage and stir to combine. Serve over rice.