Promoters for The L.A. (Lower Alabama) Gumbo Festival in Orange Beach, Alabama, promised to cook the largest pot of seafood gumbo ever made. Local media aired the commercials and reprinted the enticing press releases repeatedly. I couldn’t wait to go. My local newspaper clearly listed the time, date and place of the four-day festival.
Waterway until we found The Wharf, site of the event. That name, by the way, is as deceiving as L.A. The Wharf is a large, trendy shopping complex with urban shops and bi-level parking garages. Since we’d lost about an hour finding The Wharf, I feared we’d miss the opening festivities. We did — not because we were late. We were a day early. A couple from Michigan and a family from Texas were early too, they’d read the same newspaper account we had.
Instead of eating gumbo, I watched a crew unload a truck and construct a giant pot for stirring the roux. They erected it right in front of signs brandishing the recipe for the world’s largest seafood gumbo recipe.
I’m not too sure how many the recipe feeds, but probably more folks than my house and backyard can hold. So, I reprint the recipe below with no compunctions about copyright infringement. When someone invites you over for gumbo, they ought to have it ready!
WORLD’S LARGEST LA SEAFOOD GUMBO
LA Seafood Ingredients:
750 lbs shrimp (70-90 count) peeled and deveined
450 lbs catflish filets
100 lbs claw crabmeat
50 lbs white crabmeat
200 lbs diced alligator meat
25 lbs Lousiana crawfish tail
85 lbs oysters
78 lbs vegetable oil
80 lbs flour
200 lbs diced onions
75 lbs diced celery
100 lbs diced green bell pepper
50 lbs minced garlic
100 lbs sausage
150 lbs sliced okra
1,650 lbs hot shellfish stock
20 lbs sliced green onions
10 lbs chopped parsley
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste Louisiana hot sauce to taste
In the kettle, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Mix in flour, stirring constantly until a brown roux is achieved. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables are wilted. Blend in sausage and stir to mix well. Stir in okra, then add hot shellfish stock, one gallon at a time, stirring constantly to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer. Additional stock may be used to retain volume. Add green onions and parsley. Season to taste, using salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Fold in all the seafood, return to a low boil, and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings if necessary.