Here is another meal in a bowl, that is sure to please and feed a crowd..this feeds 4-6 and can be doubled
1/4 cup butter
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1/2 pound fresh or frozen( Defrosted)okra
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
6 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2-3tbsp all purpose flour
1 jar/pint shucked oysters or clams
1 bottle/cup clam juice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 bay laurel leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste
1 pound shelled and veined shrimp/scampi/prawns/crayfish
file powder (this is ground sassafras and is traditionally used in gumbo)
Cooked steamed rice to serve
Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan and add the bacon, render the fat from the bacon then remove with a slotted spoon, set aside.
Saute the onions, okra, celery and green pepper and cook until the okra ceases to "rope" (releases stringy strands sometimes as it cooks).
Add the garlic and flour and cook to a roux.
Gradually add the chicken broth, and tomatoes, and any liquid from the oysters and the cup of clam juice.
Stir well and add the thyme and bay leaves, salt & pepper.
Cook on medium simmer for 1 hour, removing any scum that floats to surface after 30 mins (remove too quickly will remove most of the dried herbs).
Add the bacon, oysters and shrimp and simmer for 10 mins.
Check seasonings, add minced parsley & remove the bay leaves.
Serve over hot rice in warm bowls. sprinkle with ground file (1/4 tsp max per bowl as it is a strong flavored herb)
variations.. in place of shrimp..use any shellfish or sturdy fleshed fresh fish, cut into bite sized pieces ( halibut, swordfish, cod, monkfish, roughy & etc.).