More than the sum of its parts.
Rich and hearty, spiced right, the Shrimp Gumbo recipe, with chicken and ham, is a people-pleasing combo of flavors for 8, 50, or more guests. (I think there's a law prohibiting the use of only one meat in gumbo.)
Though delicious, this is a quick and easy cheater version of serious gumbo. That can be fixed, seriously, with a roux, in the prep notes.
Perfect for the big game, New Orleans Night, or winter party crowds. Try it with Sourdough Breadsticks, below.
How to make gumbo for a crowd? Easily. This is a very easy recipe that can be prepared well ahead of the party. You can't mess it up because the amounts don't need to be exact.
1 1/2 pounds chicken meat, (@4 cups) cut into bite-size cubes (boneless, skinless chicken breasts work well)
1 pound sausages, sliced, or ham, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
4 cups flavorful chicken broth*
1 cup sliced green onions or scallions
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chunky chopped
2 cups sliced celery
2 whole bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
5 cups cut fresh okra (or 20-ounce bag frozen)
Cooked white rice (a pound or less, dry weight)
In a large pot, sauté the chicken and sausage or ham in olive oil along with the garlic and red pepper. Add the remaining ingredients except the shrimp and okra and heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and okra and simmer another 10 minutes or until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Serve in bowls over rice. Serves 8-12.
Important Preparation Notes:
• If your chicken broth is not very flavorful, try adding a little chicken soup base or bouillon. These can be very salty, though, so don't add salt to the gumbo until after this step.
• The teaspoon of crushed red pepper gives the Gumbo a nice little tingle on your tongue but is not overpoweringly hot. Add more to taste, but remember that the heat of it builds with every bite. Be good to your friends.
• For more traditional gumbo, add a roux to the shrimp
gumbo recipe. Heat 1 cup of vegetable or canola oil (or bacon drippings
if you want to go all out bad) in a heavy skillet, medium low heat.
Gradually add 1 cup flour, stirring constantly. Continue heating and
stirring until the roux turns the color of an old penny. If it burns
even a little, start over. Add the roux as necessary to thicken the
gumbo. Multiply as needed for large quantities.
The following amounts will feed 50 guests as an entree, figuring 1 cup gumbo served over 1/2 cup cooked rice, with allowance for seconds included, much more as a side or starter dish using smaller portions. Serve with sourdough bread, rolls or breadsticks. A garden salad is excellent as well. See the large-quantity cooking charts for amounts.
5 pounds chicken meat
5 pounds pork sausages or ham
1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper or 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper,* or to taste
6 quarts (24 cups) chicken broth
4 or 5 large yellow onions
5 cups sliced green onions (6 or 7 bunches)
10 cups sliced celery (about 20 stalks),
10 bay leaves
5 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
5 (20-ounce) bags frozen cut okra
Salt and pepper to taste
3-1/2 to 4 pounds (dry weight) white rice, cooked
Cut the meats and vegetables as directed above. You'll need 2 or 3 large soup kettles or stock pots. Divide the ingredients and proceed as above or sauté the chicken and pork with the seasonings in olive oil, as above, in one pot. Then divide the sauteed mixture among the pots and apportion the remaining ingredients accordingly. Proceed as above.