Making a proper roux takes time, but it pales in comparison to the rich savoriness of the final dish—and the effusive compliments you’ll receive upon serving it at dinner.
Made In Kitchen
Peel and devein shrimp, keeping tails on (reserve shells). Rinse shells in colander and pat dry.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a Stainless Clad Stock Pot over medium-high. Add shells and cook, stirring, until browned, 5 minutes.
Add 12 cups water to Pot. Bring to a boil, season with 1 Tbsp. salt, and add shrimp shells, peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves . Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer shells for 25 minutes. Let cool, then strain, reserving liquid and discarding shells. Chill broth until ready to use.
Heat 1 cup oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high. Add flour and whisk almost constantly using a silicone whisk or wooden spoon. Lower heat to medium after flour starts to sizzle. Continue to cook, stirring, adjusting heat if necessary, until a dark reddish brown color (like a dark peanut butter) is achieved, 35–40 minutes. Do not burn your roux or your gumbo will have a bitter taste.
Meanwhile, in a large Enameled Cast Iron Skillet or Stainless Clad Frying Pan, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high, and sauté okra with a pinch of salt until browned and softened, 15–20 minutes for fresh okra and 10–15 minutes for frozen okra. Remove and reserve.
Once desired roux color is achieved, quickly stir onion, bell pepper, celery, and a pinch of salt into roux to halt cooking process and prevent color from getting too dark. Adjust heat if necessary and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and translucent and starting to stick to bottom, 5–7 minutes.
Working quickly, stream 8 cups of chilled broth into hot vegetable and roux mixture, whisking to incorporate broth into roux (reserve remaining broth). Stirring constantly, bring the Pot to a low boil over medium-high, then lower heat to medium. Skim any fat that rises to surface. Add okra and remaining 2 bay leaves. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring and skimming occasionally.
Stir in ½ cup chopped parsley and ½ cup sliced scallions. If gumbo appears too thick, add more broth to adjust. Add Cajun seasoning, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add peeled shrimp, return to a boil, and simmer until shrimp are firm and pink, 5–7 minutes more. Skim if necessary.
Remove Pot from heat. Serve with rice, remaining parsley and scallions, and hot sauce, if desired.