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Smokin' Marie's Gumbo
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup vegetable oil, for richer flavor substitute ¾ cup bacon drippings
1 cup chopped celery, ½ to ¾ inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped, ½ to ¾ inch pieces
1 large green bell pepper, chopped, ½ to ¾ inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into coins
3 quarts water
6 cubes beef bouillon
1 tablespoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons Marie Sharp’s Smokin’ Marie Habanero Smoked Pepper Sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere's®), or to taste
4 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
4 teaspoons file powder, divided
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Make a Roux:
Whisk flour and 3/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, forming a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich brown color (can take 20 to 30 minutes) whisk constantly or roux may burn. Remove from heat and continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.
Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic* the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat cooking until vegetables are tender (10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat, and set aside.
*Vegetables can be put into a food processor and chopped to desired smaller size before adding to the roux.
Prepare the Broth:
Bring 3 quarts water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a soup pot (or large Dutch oven). Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, then whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, add 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, Marie Sharp’s Smokin’ Marie Smoked Habanero Pepper Sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the mixture over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder when 15 minutes are left in cooking time.
Prepare Okra while Broth is Cooking
Melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering mixture of the above step. Add in shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder and remove bay leaves.