I just returned from a trip to Denver and while we were there we ate at the most wonderful restaurant… Gumbos at 1530 16th Street. The food was so fabulous, that it has brought back my obsession of Creole food.
When I got home I immediately pulled out my favorite gumbo recipe. I found the original recipe in Vertamae Cooks in the Americas’ Family Kitchen and have modified it a bit.
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
- 2 pounds large shrimp
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 pound ham
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 pound okra
- 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes (I use diced fire-roasted tomatoes)
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Creole seasoning to taste (I use 1-2 Tbspns depending on how hot I want it).
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- White rice
- 4 scallions
Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. Clean and devein the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp.
Place the shrimp shells in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Set the stock aside.
Dice the ham. Chop the onion and celery, and seed and chop the bell peppers. Mince the garlic. Cut the okra into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Open the can of tomatoes.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the ham and fry until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic to the skillet and saute until softened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the okra and the tomatoes and mix well. Pour in the shrimp stock and add the Creole seasoning, thyme and bay leaf. Raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, the mixture is thickened, and the flavors are blended, about 1 hour.
About 30 minutes before the gumbo is ready, cook the rice. Chop the scallions, including the tender green tops.
Add the shrimp to the vegetables, stir well, re-cover and cook until the shrimp turn pink and curl, about 8 minutes. Return the ham to the pan and heat through. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasonings with the Creole seasoning.
To serve, place the rice in individual shallow soup plates and spoon the gumbo over and around it. Sprinkle with the scallions.
Here are a few photos of downtown Denver from last week. What a beautiful city!
Night starting to fall on Denver. Almost reminds me of Vegas in this photo. Sam’s No. 3 is a great place to have breakfast and they have fast and friendly service.
16th Street Mall. Lots of wonderful shops and restaurants. The Christmas decorations were still up, which was lovely, especially at night.
Union Station. Originally built in 1881 and later destroyed by fire in 1894. The second station was rebuilt in the Beaux-Arts style. Today the station serves several railways, including Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Denver & Rio Grande Wester Railroad’s Ski Train, between Denver and the Winter Park Ski Resort, and C-Line and E-Line light rail routes.
Beautiful architecture was everywhere. This building, which is one side of the Denver Performing Arts Center, was caddy-corner to our hotel.
Denver Performing Arts Center.
And this building was on the opposite corner. I was in architectural heaven with these old buildings.
Every city has a unique thing that they do…. One of Denver’s is the cow parade. Fiberglass cows, painted in different styles were originally placed throughout Denver (83 of them) with the eventual goal of selling them to raise money for local charities.
Denver’s capital. Designed and built with our nation’s capital in mind, Denver’s capital is very similar to it. The capitol building was built in the 1890's and in 1908 they used 24 karat gold to plate the dome.
A close-up of the capital. Quite majestic, don’t you think?
Have a great week everyone!