Melt butter and canola oil (¼ cup) in a large pot, add flour and whisk continuously, over low to medium heat, until this mixture (the roux) has turned to a light chocolate color. This will take time. Don't rush it and do not turn the heat to high.
Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and celery and continue to cook, stirring for about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, stir for two more minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, half of the seafood stock, the bay leaves and the seasoning. Stir well and cover. Allow to gently simmer.
In a large skillet (12”) add the 2 Tablespoons of canola oil and the chopped okra (add okra while oil is still cool).
Turn heat to medium, then add the sliced sausage. Sauté in the skillet, stirring often for about 15 minutes. Once the sausage looks like it’s caramelized somewhat and is sticking to the pan some – and the okra is nice and soft. Use the remaining stock to pour a little into the skillet and scrape up the stuck bits (this adds great flavor to the gumbo).
Add these contents to the pot with everything else and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 45-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the liquid shrimp and crab boil to the fresh shrimp and stir so that all the shrimp has been coated. Cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
10 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add the shrimp to the gumbo and stir well. Cover again and cook on low for 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Add chopped green onions.
Serve over cooked rice. Offer Gumbo Filé if anyone likes it.
If you are not a seafood fan you can leave the shrimp out.
This recipe can be frozen, see my tips above.
This makes a large batch, but you can double it when serving larger crowds.
Make sure you add the fresh shrimp at the end, this cooks the fastest and will not take long to cook.