Big Charlie's Gumbo


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 1 pound okra, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound cubed beef stew meat(Optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • ½ pound crabmeat, flaked
  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½lemon
  • file powder (see Note)
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, onions, celery and okra, stirring constantly until golden brown. Set aside.


  • Step 2

    In a large heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, combine 1/4 cup of butter and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux becomes chocolate brown. Stir in the vegetable mixture, and stew meat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, and meat is evenly brown. Stir in water, tomatoes and sugar. Season with parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • Step 3

    Add shrimp, crabmeat and andouille to stock pot. Stir in hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Remove seeds from lemon and squeeze juice into stock pot. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves, sprinkle with filé powder, if using, and serve over rice.

  • Cook's Note:

    Filé powder can be added off the heat to thicken the gumbo. If added while the gumbo is still cooking, it may become stringy and unpleasant. File powder is ground sassafras leaves. It is available in many supermarkets.

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