I LOVE the holidays. From Halloween all the way through New Years Day, I have a deep love for them and what they bring: cooler temperatures, quality time with family and dear friends, and most importantly, delicious FOOD.
It is no surprise, really. As I have mentioned in the past, I’m 100% Cajun. I’m of the “Avoyelles Parish” Cajun variety. Our dialects aren’t as strong as the ones down the bayou in Lafourche or in Acadiana, but our people hold a strong allegiance to our traditions and recipes and we share them with pride. When it comes to holidays, we don’t mess around! For Easter, we pock (or knock) eggs. For Thanksgiving, we usually wind up rushing through dinner so the men (and some of the women, if they choose) can go deer hunting. In our family, for Christmas, we ALWAYS cook a big ole pot of steaming, delicious, seafood gumbo.
As a child, it was a special occasion if my mom made a seafood gumbo, as the ingredients are expensive. However, Christmas was (and still is) the one time of the year where we splurge to celebrate the holiday and our family. One of my favorite things about the holidays is the connections families make around food. Delicious food cooked with the hands and hearts of our loved ones is the cornerstone of the holidays. I often look forward to cooking our holiday meals and being with family more than the decorations and even gifts. There is something so heartwarming about sharing a steaming hot bowl of gumbo made with my family next to the soft glow of the Christmas tree.
Lucky for y’all, I’ve decided to share the gumbo recipe that has been passed down through my family! It features the delicious combination of crab meat, shrimp, smoked sausage and EGGS. You are probably thinking, wait, what? EGGS? Yes, eggs. Growing up, because the seafood was so expensive, my mother would add eggs for extra protein to add more bulk to the meal so that it would go further. This is very common among my whole extended family. In fact, some of my cousins admit that the kids would often fight over who got the eggs!
Also, this recipe can be adjusted for Lent as well. Just remove the sausage and add more eggs, and it is a perfect meal for a Lenten Friday!
5 C Chicken Stock
5 C Water
3 TBSP jarred roux (We like Savoie’s at our house, ha!)
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Trinity (we buy it precut, but if you choose to do yourself, Celery, Bell Pepper, Onion)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2-3/4 pound lump crabmeat (or gumbo crabs) (your preference)
1 pound medium-large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 package of smoked sausage, sliced into rings
Seasoning Blend (We use Slap Ya’ Mama)
In a large dutch oven, sauté your trinity and garlic until tender and translucent. Season with a little seasoning or salt and pepper, whatever your preference. Be sure not to burn your garlic! Then add your water, broth and roux, stirring until it is dissolved. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes on a low heat.
While it is simmering, use this time to have a glass of wine, beer, or whatever. Enjoy your company.
Add your sausage to the pot, let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Check the flavor of your broth and add any seasoning you may need like salt, pepper, Slap Ya’ Mama. Then, add your green onions.
Now it is time to add your eggs. Crack an egg in a ladle or measuring cup. Make sure your broth is simmering, NOT BOILING. Then, slowly bring your measuring cup with the egg down into the broth. Add the remaining eggs in the same way, making sure to put them in different locations in the pot so that they don’t stick to the other eggs. Let them poach for 5-8 minutes.
Next, add your crab meat. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes. Lastly, add your cleaned shrimp to the pot, and bring the heat up just a nudge. Let the shrimp cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked through, and the pot is bubbling.
Bring the pot up to a bubble, and then cut the heat and move your pot.
Top your rice with file’, pour your gumbo over, and add an egg to your bowl, and ENJOY!
I promise your tummy will be full and warm with love with this delicious bowl of holiday happiness.