Boykin Cahn Freeman Hunter Family Recipe

Boykin Cahn Freeman Hunter Family Recipe

  Bowling Green, Kentucky
1999 November 27 Houston Chronicle 1999 November 27 Houston Chronicle


Ellen Freeman and Jessie Hudson

Seafood Gumbo (Composite Recipe)

Prep Time: If you can, buy fresh shrimp with shells and heads still intact. If the heads have been removed, don't worry. Peel the shrimp and use the shells to make shrimp stock. Put the shells (and heads) in a small stockpot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, and set aside. If you don't have shrimp stock, water can be substituted.



3/4 cup peanut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves (peeled)
5 cups shrimp stock or water (or more as needed)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
2 dozen freshly shucked oysters with the liquor
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped green onions (green and white parts)
Filé powder


  1. Combine the oil and flour in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a medium-brown roux the color of peanut butter. This will take about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are wilted and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp stock or water, bay leaves, thyme, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and crabmeat and simmer until the shrimp turn pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the oysters and their liquor and simmer until the edges of the oysters curl, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme. Garnish with the parsley and green onions. Serve the gumbo over rice. Additional Tabasco and filé powder can be passed at the table to allow each guest to season according to taste.
  4. Makes 8 to 10 servings.