South Louisiana Gumbo

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and red and black pepper, to taste
1 hen or large fryer
3 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 pints oysters, drained
1 can crab meat (optional)
Crab claws (optional)
Okra (optional)
File (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon

Boil chicken. Debone and cut into bite-size pieces. Reserve 1/2 gallon stock.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large cast iron Dutch oven. Add flour; stir until roux is dark brown (the color of a brown paper bag), being careful not to burn. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until tender.

Add celery, okra, salt, red and black pepper and chicken stock. Let simmer for at least 1 hour.

Add as much chicken as desired (reserve remainder for another recipe) and simmer for 45 minutes. Add shrimp, crab meat, crab claws, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and bay leaves. Continue cooking until you are ready to add oysters; oysters should not be added until 15 or 20 minutes before serving. Add file just before serving, but do not boil.

Serve over rice.

Serves 12.

Note: A leftover turkey carcass is excellent for this recipe instead of chicken. Boil the carcass; remove the meat from bones and reserve stock as you would for chicken. This recipe is better if made the day before and refrigerated. If not made the day before, begin preparing it in the morning if it is to be served at night.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, 5-Quart

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