Making gumbo is a lot like making love: There are thousands of different ways to do it, you have to find the way the works best for you, and it’s ever-so-slightly enhanced with a little alcohol. Also, if it all happens too quickly, everyone will be disappointed.

The beauty of gumbo (beyond the fact that it’s fun to compare to sex) is its simplicity. Make a roux. Add vegetables and liquid. Add meat. Serve with rice. Pretty easy, right? But with each step there are tons of variables you can play with to make your own version that suits your tastes.

The temperature at which you prepare the roux — a mixture of fat and flour that is the basis for any French or Cajun sauce — as well as the amount of stirring, will affect how long this recipe takes. For perfect roux, you’ll want to constantly stir, or more accurately constantly scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure it’s evenly cooked. Once the roux is the color of milk chocolate, you’re ready to proceed with the rest of the recipe, including the beer.

Here at Cooking With Booze we add beer to, well, pretty much everything, but definitely our gumbo. We like using beer that mimics the color of gumbo, so for this one we grabbed a sixer of Gutch, an English mild ale made by Defiance Brewing Company in Hays, KS. This little Midwestern brewery has been making big waves lately with their craftily produced can beers and the Gutch is one of our favorites. Bonus: the beer goes great with the gumbo as well.

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Gumbo

1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup flour
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small orange pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce English mild ale, brown ale, or amber ale
1 quart seafood stock
2 cups clam stock
2 Tablespoon worcestershire
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 pound shrimp, deveined and deshelled
5 andouille sausages, cooked
½ pound smoked white fish

For serving:
Cooked rice
Green onions
Parsley

Warm a large 8-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and allow it to warm for about a minute. Add the flour and lower the temperature, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon or spatula for about 45 minutes or until the mixture becomes the color of milk chocolate.

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Add the orange pepper, red pepper, celery, and onion. Allow to cook while stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Add the beer and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all of the yummy brown bits. Add the seafood stock, the clam stock, and the worcestershire, then the thyme, cayenne, paprika, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and allow to simmer for one hour. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Add the shrimp and cook for about 6 minutes. Add the andouille and half the smoked fish and allow to cook for about 2 minutes more. Serve immediately. Pour the gumbo into a bowl with rice. Garnish with green onions, parsley, and the remaining smoked whitefish. Enjoy it with more beer, of course.

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