Today was seafood gumbo making day. And what do you need for a great, rich tasting, full bodied seafood gumbo? Homemade seafood stock. Don't be intimidated by making stock. It's easy and makes all the difference in your soups, stews, and gumbos.
Whenever you use shrimp in recipes and you peel them yourself, rinse and then freeze those shells (and tails and heads if available!) in a ziplock bag until you're ready to make stock. Also, it's a great habit to get into to save those onion peels, celery tops, etc. and freeze those as well. I wish you could have smelled the aroma coming from my kitchen while this stock was simmering away.
In a LARGE stockpot or Dutch oven (I used a 9 1/2 quart), add shrimp shells, a quartered onion, a few celery ribs, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns, and several parsley sprigs, cover with fresh cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. I had several gumbo crabs in the freezer just waiting to be used for stock. Into the pot they went as well.
Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface and discard. Let gently simmer for an hour or so without stirring.
Strain all the solids and you're ready to make your gumbo. I'll be posting that recipe soon.