Alabama Coast Gumbo

Alabama Coast Gumbo is a fusion of all the gumbos I have sampled along the Gulf Coast from Apalachicola, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Toasting the flour in a dry pan first shortens the stirring time it takes to develop a rich roux. Just watch the flour carefully. It can quickly go from brown to burnt.

For the shrimp stock:
8 oz raw shrimp
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
3 bay leaves
1 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For the gumbo:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp canola oil
8 oz andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup canola oil
2 split chicken breast halves
2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
6 stalks celery with leaves, chopped (2 cups)
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (I used prepared minced garlic)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to personal preference)
1 10 oz can tomatoes and green chilies, such as Rotel
1 Tbsp sugar
4 cups chicken broth
10 oz fresh or frozen okra, sliced
cooked brown rice, for serving

1. For the shrimp stock:
2. Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Refrigerate the shrimp for later.
3. In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion until just softened. Add the garlic and cook one minute longer.
4. Add the shrimp shells, remaining stock ingredients, and 4 cups of water.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer 30 minutes or longer.
6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool 15 minutes before straining the liquid into another container. Add enough chicken broth or water to measure 4 cups. Discard the solids.

7. For the gumbo:
8. Place the flour in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring frequently at first and constantly as the flour begins to color. Set aside.
9. In a large chef’s pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the sliced sausage in 1 Tbsp. of oil until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
10. In the same pan, heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts in the hot oil, turning frequently to brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
11. Sprinkle the reserved flour into the oil and stir together. Reduce the heat to low. (Pour yourself a beverage of choice!) Continue cooking the roux, stirring constantly, until it reaches a rich dark copper color, but not burnt, 20 or 30 minutes.
12. Stir in the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables just begin to soften. Make a well in the center of the vegetables, then add the garlic and cook a minute longer.
13. Stir in the parsley and spices and cook another couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes and sugar.
14. Gradually stir in the chicken and shrimp stocks and add the okra. Raise the heat to medium high.
15. Return the chicken to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, then again reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
16. Remove the chicken to a plate and when it is cool enough to handle pull the chicken from the bone. Discard the skin and bone. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces.
17. Add the shrimp to the pan along with the reserved sausage and chicken.
18. Simmer, uncovered, on low heat for 15 to 30 minutes, then adjust the seasoning to taste.
19. Serve with a scoop of hot cooked rice.

Servings: 12