This dish is full of southern hospitality. It invites you in with the smell of cajun seasoning. It fills you up with a heaping helping of gumbo. And it gives your taste buds a big warm hug with the flavor of SPAM® Classic!
2 packages of frozen, sliced okra (20 oz) or 2 pounds of fresh okra
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 pound lump blue crab, fresh picked or canned
3 pounds uncooked 21-25 shrimp
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Cooked white rice (lightly salted)
1.Place black pepper corns in a spice grinder and finely grind them. Place in medium sized bowl. Place all other ingredients in grinder and pulse process until fine. Mix all ingredients together and store in a clean Mason jar.
2.Cut SPAM® Classic and into ¼ inch cubes. Brown SPAM® Classic and andouille sausage well in a non stick skillet, and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
3.Sweat the Trinity (celery, onion, bell pepper) in a dash of olive oil, and add a dash of Cajun seasoning over medium heat. Do not brown. Set aside.
4.In a good sized, heavy bottom soup pot bring 1 quart water and beef stock to a low boil.
5.Increase heat under non-stick skillet. Make a roux by adding bacon drippings and butter to the skillet. Stir flour into the melted bacon grease and butter a little at a time. Stir slowly and constantly. CHEF’S NOTE: Mixture will bubble and seems like nothing is happening, then it will start to darken. It will turn the color of brown mustard, then baked bread, then pecan shell and finally you want a deep, rich brown. This may take 20 to 30 minutes to happen. Be patient. Turn off the heat and keep stirring. The fat is continuing to cook your flour.
6.Add the Trinity (celery, onion and bell pepper) into the roux, then add SPAM® Classic, andouille sausage, and minced garlic, keep stirring.
7.Whisk the roux (which now contains the Trinity, SPAM® Classic, andouille sausage and minced garlic) into the slow rolling stock. Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes.
8.Add white sugar, sea salt to taste, and red pepper sauce. Stir well and then incorporate Cajun seasoning blend to taste. Add bay leaves, dried thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer and stir frequently for 60 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, add file powder.
9.Cook bacon drippings and sliced okra in a skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to keep the okra from becoming slimy as they cook. Cook for 15-20 minutes and add to the SPAMâ¢BO in the soup pot.
10.Let simmer on very low heat, being careful to not scorch the bottom of the pot.
11.An hour ahead of serving, cook white rice (salt lightly) and add blue crab, uncooked shrimp, and Worchestershire sauce. Let simmer.
12.When ready to serve, add salt, file and hot sauce to taste. Plate in a big bowl for your guests with a healthy spoonful of fluffy rice in the center.
13.Sprinkle a dash of Cajun seasoning mix on the rice for color.
14.Serve with crusty French bread, hot sauce and lightly sweetened iced tea.