This stock, as well as shrimp and fish stocks, is used in a great deal of Louisiana cooking. I wouldn't dream of making a seafood gumbo without one.

Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, skimming if necessary. Strain through a china cap layered with cheesecloth, and discard the remainder. Cool the stock in an ice-water bath, transfer to a storage container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off any fat that has risen to the top. Freeze any leftovers.

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)