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Seafood Gumbo With Okra

Okra is used as the thickener, so this gumbo is lighter than a roux-based gumbo. It is only mildly spicy. Use at least three different type of fish and shellfish, in whatever combination of fresh seafood is available: prawns, crab, oysters, frogs' legs, crawfish tails, clams, mussels, scallops, or filleted redfish, red snapper, cod or other fish, cut into cubes.

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30 ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil
450 g/1 lb onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
250g/8-oz tin tomato sauce
1.75 l/3 pts seafood stock
15 ml/1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 bay leaves
15 ml/1 tbsp fresh thyme or 5 ml/1 tsp dried
5 ml/1 tsp salt
1.5 ml/¼ tsp black pepper
Large pinch cayenne
Large pinch white pepper
2.5 ml/½ tsp paprika
675g/1½ lbs okra, thawed and well drained if frozen, sliced
900 ml/2 lbs mixed seafood
450g/1 lb cooked rice to serve
Filé powder, optional


Serves: 8


In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Sauté the onion, pepper, celery and garlic until limp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large saucepan or stockpot and add the toma­toes, tomato sauce, seafood stock, lemon juice and seasonings. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Add the okra and return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add the seafood: cubed fish and frogs' legs take the longest times to cook, oysters the least.

Spoon the rice into individual large bowls. Ladle the gumbo over the rice. If desired, add a pinch of file powder to each bowl.

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