Catfish Gumbo

Catfish Gumbo

A catfish gumbo is one of the simplest and most satisfying ways to prepare fish — enough to warm the heart after a difficult day. No more need be said, except to invite friends.


*Chef Lucia Watson owns and operates Lucia's, one of Minneapolis, Minnesota's, most distinctive restaurants (1432 West 31st Street, 612/825-1572).


Ingredients

1/2 lb. bacon, diced

1 c. each onion, celery, green pepper, and red pepper, diced


1 tsp. garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp. each white pepper, thyme, and oregano

1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

8 c. chicken broth

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced 3/4 inch thick on a bias

1 lb. fish, one-inch cubes

â–  Sauté bacon and reserve. Heat the bacon fat until it just begins to smoke, then add an equal amount of flour. Whisk until the mixture (roux) turns the color of a brown paper bag.

â–  Add onion, celery, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, cayenne, white pepper, thyme, oregano, the reserved bacon, and chicken broth. Cook gently for 15 minutes.

â–  Add the smoked sausage and fish. Simmer gently for about seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with cooked white rice.

â–  Better grades of catfish make a better gumbo. But a gumbo also gives equal time to other fish catfish anglers might catch, like stripers and sheepshead. It's also a good opportunity to use frozen catfish.

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