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All-Purpose Gumbo

3 large cloves of garlic
2 large onions
3 medium carrots
3 quarts water or stock
1 lb. cleaned shrimp or chopped chicken
1½ cups shelled oysters or cleaned crabmeat
1½ tsp. The Spice Hunter Gumbo Filé
The Spice Hunter Red Pepper (Cayenne) to taste
4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. flour

Simmer vegetables in liquid until tender. Purée. Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Add flour, stirring constantly until light brown. Lower heat, stir until mixture becomes a rich dark-brown color (20-25 minutes), watch carefully so as not to burn. Add purée and season with cayenne to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add shrimp or chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add oysters or crabmeat, simmer 5 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat & add Gumbo Filé. Let sit for 10 minutes to smooth flavor. Stir & serve in warmed bowls with steamed rice.