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Shrimp Filé Gumbo

Shrimp Filé Gumbo

I found cooked, peeled shrimp on sale the other day and decided to make gumbo. I have had gumbo a few times and loved it. I think I have even made it before, but this was different. I decided to look it up and find out what is unique about gumbo, if there was anything in particular that sets it aside from other soups.

I found out that the thickening agents are the keys. The first one is the roux. The second can be okra or filé. Most say that you must choose one or the other – okra or filé, a few say it’s fine to use them together. I didn’t have a need to make the choice; I had filé on hand and no okra.

1 small red onion
1 medium yellow onion
2 bulbs garlic
2 green chilies
2 jalapenos
10 slices bacon
Chicken stock (about 4 cups, should be homemade)
Water (about 4 cups)
1 pound cooked, peeled, frozen shrimp
File (about 1 tablespoon or to taste)

Cayenne
Oregano
Paprika
Basil
Celery salt
Salt
Black pepper
Cholula’s (or Tabasco, or something similar)

Roux
¼ cup bacon grease
¼ cup flour

Roasting
Roast red onion, 1 bulbs garlic, 1 jalapeno, and 1 green chili, covered at 400 degrees for 45 minute to one hour. Allow to cool well enough to be handled and cut up (can be roasted and refrigerated the day before).

Roux
In a heavy bottom pan melt bacon grease. Add flour. Whisk well. Cook over low to medium heat (barely bubbling) for about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally, until it turns a deep caramel color.

Gumbo
Add stock, roux and water to a large sauce pan or stockpot. Whisk well. If the liquid is cool the roux will congeal and stick to the whisk. That is OK, just be sure to whisk well when it has warmed before adding other ingredients.

Add all ingredients except the shrimp and file. Spices should be used liberally. Remember to adjust salt according to saltiness of stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 ½ hour. It will reduce.

Add shrimp. Allow to return to a boil or simmer. Reduce heat and cook for 10 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and wait until it is no longer bubbling. Add file and stir well. Serve over white rice.

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Bacon “Wrapped” Shrimp

Bacon “Wrapped” Shrimp

Bacon “Wrapped” Shrimp, by Sandra Yvonne Duke

This was inspired by a dish served at Viva Vallarta, in Canon City, Colorado. Theirs is different in a few ways and, as in most restaurants, to me the portion size is just a tease. They actually wrap their shrimp with the bacon. I don’t. That takes a lot of time and work out of this recipe.

1 pound bacon
1 pound cooked and peeled shrimp (tails are OK)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced w/green parts
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 green chili, seeded and sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 small handful dried chili pequin
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon cumin
Paprika
Salt

Cut bacon strips into quarters and cook on medium high in a large iron skillet (kitchen scissors work great for this and you do not have to cut the slices individually). DO NOT drain grease (the mushrooms will soak up most of it). When bacon is done or almost done reduce heat to medium and add green onions, garlic, green chili, and jalapeno. Cook for one or two minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook for one or two minutes. Add chili pequin, cayenne, and cumin. Cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Shake salt and liberally shake paprika over the top, allow to cook for 5 to 10 minutes without stirring. Stir, remove from heat, and serve.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are!
Today, I served this with a pasta salad (recipe coming soon!). It would also go well with refried beans and Spanish rice or over fettuccini.

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