- ½ cup oil (or bacon or duck fat)
- ¾ cup plain flour
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- ¼ pound fresh or frozen okra, sliced ½-inch thick
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 whole bay leaves
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 10 cups seafood stock or low-sodium broth
- 1½ tablespoons Creole seasoning blend (for instance Zatarain’s or Tony Chachere’s)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Crystal Louisiana hot sauce, or hot sauce to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound fresh local crawfish tails
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup sliced scallions, for garnish
Heat fat over medium heat. Slowly add flour while whisking to prevent sticking and clumping. Continue whisking constantly as roux begins to lightly brown. Consistency of roux should resemble wet sand (not too watery, yet not too thick and clumpy). As roux continues to darken to the color of peanut butter (blond stage), reduce heat to low and switch to a wooden spoon. Do not leave roux unattended. It must be stirred constantly to prevent scorching.
The roux will continue to darken to a caramel (light brown stage). Add the onions at this stage, and continue stirring with wooden spoon. Increase heat back to medium. The water from the onions will help prevent scorching, but the roux will continue to darken. Cook while stirring until roux turns to dark chocolate color (dark brown stage).
A roux can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Be patient.
Add bell peppers and celery, and cook while stirring until tender and translucent, about 4–5 minutes.
Add okra, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and cook while stirring until the okra is tender, but not slimy, about 4–5 minutes.
Add stock, Creole blend, Worcestershire, hot sauce and thyme and cook gumbo, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until all flavors have married nicely.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Add crawfish tails and warm through for 1–2 minutes. Serve warm with white rice and garnish with scallions.