This past weekend, we had friends with us for the day and all the kids wanted to cook dinner. My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf suggested Chef Sean Brock's gumbo, so he pulled up the episode from Mind of a Chef. The kids sat there, watched the episode, and jotted down notes. This was the shopping list/recipe that I was handed at the end of the episode...
I've included affiliate links at the bottom for Chef Brock's cookbook and his season of Mind of a Chef on DVD. This is a Senegalese-style gumbo that uses red palm oil, dried fish, and whole eggplants. We went to the farmer's market and bought okra and eggplant.
We went to the Asian market and picked up whole fish, fresh shrimp, dried fish, and whole squid.
We went to Whole Foods to pick up clams and red palm oil.
Then we came home and they chopped, sauteed, simmered, and created a delicious pot of gumbo. I was rather impressed with their skills.
I loved that they jumped right in to cleaning the squid and my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf declared, "I know how to clean a whole fish. I'll show you!" Go, D!! I almost wish I could have recorded some of their conversations...
"Move, please. I need to put the fish head in the pot."
I'll stir. [two seconds later] NO! You stir.
The fish is looking at me! I can see its eyeball.
"It's okay. The eyeball is yummy."
Kitchen Elves' Senegalese-Style Gumbo
slightly adapted from Chef Sean Brock's Senegalese-Style Gumbo
- 1 two-pound fish, cleaned, filleted, and coarsely chopped with the head and bones reserved
- 2 C okra, thinly sliced and smashed in a mortar and pestle
- 4 C chicken stock
- 4 C water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cured, dried fish
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 small eggplants
- 3 hot chili peppers
- 3 T fish sauce
- 2 pounds shrimp
- 1 pound squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
- 1 pound clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 C red palm oil
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Steamed rice, for serving (we used a short grain brown rice)
In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper until softened. Add in the fish head, bones, dried fish, stock, water, and chili peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the fish head, bones, chili peppers, and dried fish (if you wish) from the pot.
Add the smashed okra, bay leaves, eggplants, and fish sauce. Bring to it back up to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should be able to pierce the eggplant with a fork easily. Add the fish pieces, shrimp, squid, and palm oil. Simmer for a minute. Add in the clams and simmer until they open, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.