Two gastronomic champions team up for the main course: Dark roux, bell peppers and andouille sausage offer traditional gumbo flavors while tomatoes, garlic, fennel and Pernod (a French anise-flavored spirit, less sweet than anisette liqueur) add the bouillabaisse touches.
For the flavors to meld nicely, prepare the soup a day or two ahead of time, leaving out the proteins, which should be added just before the soup is served. Vegetarians can substitute vegetable stock for chicken or fish stock and double the vegetables to replace the proteins. Serve with a steamed Carolina rice and a simple green salad. Start to finish, this takes about 2 hours, which is less time than a standard gumbo.
- For the roux
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- For the vegetables
- 2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 whole cloves garlic
- For the herbs and spices
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon onion salt
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- For the liquid
- 3 cans (each 28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 8 cups rich chicken stock or fish stock
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1/2 cup anisette-flavored spirits, such as Pernod (may substitute dry vermouth); optional
- 1 teaspoon browning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
- For the protein
- 1/2 pound chorizo, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch disks
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch disks
- 1 pound raw shrimp, tails removed, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound raw tuna or salmon, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pint shucked oysters and their liquor
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- Chopped scallions, both white and tender green parts, for garnish
For the roux (during the roux-making process, the oil and flour get extremely hot; always use a potholder to remove the measuring cup from the microwave and exercise caution when stirring): Place the flour and oil into a large (4-cup) glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl and stir until smooth. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove the roux from the oven, stir until smooth and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir. The roux will be getting browner.
Microwave the roux in 1-minute intervals, stirring the roux until smooth after each minute, until it is a deep chocolate-brown color; this could take a total of three to five 1-minute intervals. (It takes some care to get this color without burning it.) Because the roux gets so hot, it will continue to cook as it cools and will mellow into an almost-black color. Let the roux cool for several hours. Drain the oil that will have separated, reserving both the roux and the oil in small, separate containers. Set aside, or cover the roux and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the vegetables: In a large bowl, combine the onions, celery, carrots, fennel, bell peppers and garlic. If using a food processor, pulse the vegetables and garlic 10 times (you will need to do this in 2 batches); this will blend their flavors nicely. (You may also cut the vegetables into a 1/2-inch dice.) Return the diced vegetables to the bowl, and set aside.
In a bowl, combine all the herbs, spices and sugar and set aside. Then in separate bowls, combine the liquids and combine the proteins. Cover the bowls of liquids and proteins and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: In a large stockpot over high heat, heat the reserved roux oil until it is smoking. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring vigorously, for about 2 minutes. Add the herbs and spices and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the roux and stir and cook for another minute. Stir in the liquids, letting them come to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let the soup cook, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes.
Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the proteins, then turn off the heat and let the soup sit until the proteins are just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot in individual bowls and top each with rice, topped chopped parsley and scallions.
Adapted from chef and former restaurateur David Hagedorn.
Tested by Hal Mehlman.
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