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Seafood gumbo
Okay, here's my seafood gumbo. I prefer a file' gumbo to an okra gumbo. I give you the option here. I quit using gumbo crabs because they're too hard to get to the meat. I use claw meat and crab fingers (if I use crab). Whatever seafood combination you use, make sure you have at least 2-3 lbs of meat total. I like to make shrimp stock with the heads and shells. You can use water instead, if you pump up the flavor with oyster liquid. I also like to throw in a little Rotel when I'm feeling saucy. Okra would be good in this one, if you like it.

Shrimp stock:
Heads & shells from 1 1/2 pounds whole shrimp, any size (reserve uncooked shrimp for gumbo)
1 onion, quartered
several bay leaves
8 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne

Bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for a while (about an hour). Skim off any foam that comes up. Strain well into a saucepan and keep warm while you're making the gumbo.

1/2 cup roux (or more if you like it)
3 cups chopped creole veggies
2 tbs garlic (if not already in veggie blend)
shrimp stock or water (about 6 or 7 cups)
1 can Rotel (optional)
cajun seasoning
1 pound shrimp (what you have after peeling 1.5 lbs head-on)
1 small container crab claw meat (picked through) or crab fingers
1 pint oysters with liquid (or more oysters if not using crab)
2 tbs sliced green onion
a little fresh chopped parsley
gumbo file' if not using okra

Make your roux (or cheat like me and get it from a jar). In your gumbo pot, get the roux nice and warm over medium-high heat, stirring well and add the creole veggies. Saute 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add some of the shrimp stock or water to smooth out the roux, stirring well. When it's all smooth, stir in the rest of the stock.  If you're adding Rotel and/or okra, add it now. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about an hour.

Get the rice pot going. Add the shrimp and crabmeat to the gumbo. Let cook about 15 minutes. When the rice pot dings, taste the seasoning in the gumbo and adjust with cajun seasoning how you want it. Add the oysters, green onions and parsley to the gumbo. Let cook about 2 minutes (until oysters begin to curl) and turn off the heat.

Serve it up with the rice (and file' if no okra).