We came across this preparation—from a famous old family recipe—at the Ruth's Chris Steak House in Mobile, Alabama.
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 8 oz. fresh okra, trimmed, or frozen and thawed, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Brown-Chicken-Stock">Brown/ Chicken Stock</a>
- 1 (10-oz.) can Ro-Tel Original diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 (8-oz.) can diced tomatoes in sauce
- 4 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. liquid crab boil
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 lb. small shrimp, peeled
- 1⁄2 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
- 1 pint shucked oysters, coarsely chopped (strain oyster liquor into chicken stock)
- 1 tbsp. filé powder
To make a roux, melt butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring often, until smooth and light caramel in color, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add celery, onions, peppers, okra, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat stock in a large heavy pot, then keep warm over low heat. Transfer vegetables to stock and add Ro-Tel, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, crab boil, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add shrimp, crab, and oysters, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20–30 minutes. Whisk filé powder into 1⁄2 cup water, then into gumbo. Stir in reserved roux and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve gumbo over rice, if you like.