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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Jo Lathan

Aunt Noni’s Crawfish Gumbo

Updated: Dec 31, 2023


ChristmasJumbo

Aunt Noni was a fabulous cook and quite a good golfer, too. As a matter of fact, she and Uncle Frank loved golfing so much, that they bought a house right  across the street from the country club that had an 18 hole golf course. They joined the club so they could play every Friday after work. After a round of golf one Friday, she and Uncle Frank headed to the club house for a martini. However, they were met by their friend, the club manager, who was all up in-a-tizzy because his chef had quit on him. And to make a bad story worse,  the owner was coming to the clubhouse in three hours with a party of important folks from Mobile, and had ordered a special dinner of crawfish gumbo, fresh biscuits and sweet potato pie for dessert… none of which, that chef had  cooked.


Well, Aunt Noni didn’t even blink an eye, and said to their manager friend, “Now, don’t you go worryin’ your sweet little heart about nuthin’. You just git me an apron and I’ll whip them up some gumbo they won’t ‘evah’ forget.”  He was thrilled because everybody in town knew what a good cook Aunt Noni was. So, he walked her into the clubhouse kitchen, showed her where everything was, and she got right to cookin’, whisperin’ to Uncle Frank, ” I’m glad that ol’ cook of his  is gone! I sure don’t know where he got the silly eye-dea that he was ‘evah’ a chef, anyway.”


Needless to say, the owner and his important guests were highly impressed with Aunt Noni’s culinary skills. They all wanted seconds of her seafood gumbo, which was beautifully served up in one of their jewelry store’s finest bone china tureens. The owner even offered Noni a bundle of money to come in and cook especially for him the following weekend. Why, he even threw in her very own sous chef, if she wanted one, as well as,  a lifetime membership at the country club and golf course, for her and Uncle Frank. A lifetime of free golf for a little gumbo? Her answer was, “Yes.”


So, every time I make Aunt Noni’s Crawfish Gumbo, especially at Christmas, I always give it the respect it deserves. I serve it up in my own fancy bone china soup tureen that came from the back of her little jewelry store in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. ‘Cause, honey, this here recipe makes the best gumbo ‘evah’ !

Crawfish Gumbo

Recipe by: Bobbi Jo Lathan

Recipe type: Entree

Cuisine: Southern

Serves: 4


PREP TIME

30 mins

COOK TIME

1 hour 35 mins

TOTAL TIME

2 hours 5 mins

INGREDIENTS

2 Sticks butter

1 cup Flour

2 Onions (chopped)

5 Cloves garlic (minced or chopped fine)

3 pieces Celery (chopped)

1⁄2 cup Chopped green bell pepper

1⁄2 cup Red bell pepper

1 Can chopped tomatoes (optional)

1 cup fresh okra (sliced)

4 Bay leaves

1 tablespoon Salt

1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon Thyme

1 tablespoon Oregano

1 tablespoon Paprika

2 tablespoons Garlic powder

8 cups Water or seafood stock

2 pounds Raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1 pound Raw fish fillets (a firm fish cut into pieces)

2 Fresh uncooked crabs (cut and cracked)

10 pieces Fresh uncooked crawfish

1 pint Oysters (optional, as some folks don’t like ‘em! But if you use ‘em, add the juice and the oysters the last five minutes! Yum!)

1 sprinkle Chopped parsley or green onion

1 teaspoon File’ powder

2 cups White rice (cooked)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large dutch oven. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Stir constantly until it’s brown. Golden brown…NOT black or burnt! Takes about 8-10 minutes.

  2. Add onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper and cook ‘til soft.

  3. Add stock (or water) and whisk ‘til blended.

  4. Add can of tomatoes and fresh okra slices.

  5. Add fresh-cut crabs. Bring to a boil and skim if you need to.

  6. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano and garlic powder.

  7. Cook for about 1 hour. If it gits too thick, add some water.

  8. Add fresh crawfish and boil for another 20 minutes.

  9. Add raw fish and shrimp and cook for another 10 minutes ‘til shrimp is pink and fish is cooked through.

  10. If you like them oysters, add ‘em along with their juice, now, and as soon as the edges curl (bout’ 4 minutes) it’s ready to eat! Stir in file’.

  11. Serve over white rice and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chopped green onions. Yum!

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