Submitted by: Rebelrunnin Serves 8
Christmas Eve is always hectic, but never more so than when my children were in Christmas pageants. This meant being at the church early, too early to eat supper, and getting home late enough that everyone was hungry. We wanted to stop and treasure the day, but it seemed impossible. One year I was determined to make the evening a celebration, but not a production. I made a catfish and shrimp gumbo early in the day (all but the seafood) and let it simmer. We got home from church and, while we all sang carols and enjoyed the tree, I dropped in the shrimp and catfish and popped a couple of baguettes into the oven. By the time the rice was done, so was supper, and cleanup was simple. It was so nice that now we have it every year.
at least 4 oz. bacon drippings and vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped green pepper
1 c. chopped okra
1 T. finely chopped garlic
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
2 bunches scallions, sliced (green and white parts), divided
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large cans whole tomatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken and catfish broth
1-1/2 lb. catfish, trimmed
2 lb. cleaned and deveined shrimp
Earlier in the day, clean and devein the shrimp and poach the catfish, retaining the poaching liquid for the gumbo. Refrigerate.
Then, as we say down here, "First you make a roux."
1. In a cold heavy-bottomed dutch oven, mix the flour and oil. Turn the heat to medium and stir continually until the roux is as dark as you like. I like it the color of pecans, which takes about 30 minutes.
2. Stir in the next ten ingredients, reserving half of the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring constantly, until the vegetables start to become translucent.
3. Add the pepper flakes, tomatoes, and broth and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally and adding chicken broth, if needed. Adjust seasonings.
4. Stir in the shrimp and catish and the reserved scallions. These will take about
5 minutes to heat through. When the shrimp turn bright pink, they are ready to eat.
Serve with a green salad, steamed rice, and crispy French bread.