Buttermilk gumbo with sassafras shrimp and candied bacon
Buttermilk Gumbo with Sassafras Seared Shrimp and Candied Bacon serves 4
By Brenda Palmer
!/2 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
20 largish shrimp, cleaned and butterflied, you can leave the tails on if you like
(If you use 31-40 sized shrimp you’ll need 2/3 lb.)
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
¼ lb. Okra, sliced
½ red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 ½ cups Jasmine rice
2 T butter
1 heaping Tablespoon flour
3 T. Gumbo file
2 Cup chicken stock
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup heavy cream
3 strips bacon
2 T brown sugar
2 T canola or vegetable oil
dash of sherry
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté leeks, celery, andouille and garlic in butter for 2 minutes. Add flour and stir for another minute after incorporated. Add a little of the chicken stock, stirring to incorporate, a little more and then the rest.
Add Okra, peppers and corn, allow to simmer 15 minutes.
Meanwhile broil bacon until its starts to curl and shrink. Tun over and spread brown sugar evenly over the bacon, continue cooking until the desired doneness. Allow to cool and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Do not rinse prior to cooking.
Add 1 teaspoon gumbo file, cream and buttermilk, stir and continue simmering, do not cover, reduce and allow to thicken.
Place cleaned, butterfiled shrimp in a plastic bag with the remaining gumbo file and shake until shrimp are coated. Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet, sear shrimp, using tongs to turn, do not overcook. Remove from heat, keep warm.
When gumbo starts to thicken, add sherry, stir, taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
Using a small soup cup or a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill with ¾ cup rice. Press firmly, but don’t crush the rice. Invert the cup into the center of your serving bowl. Firmly shake, then gently raise the cup off of the pressed rice form.
Ladle gumbo around the rice, arrange 5 pieces of shrimp resting against the rice. Sprinkle candied bacon over the rice. If you are using a wide brimmed bowl it’s nice to sprinkle some gumbo file around the rim.
Repeat for the other 3 servings.