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Seafood File Gumbo

3/4 c Margarine (not butter)
2 c Chopped green bell peppers
2 c Chopped celery
2 c Chopped onion
1 Clove garlic; minced
1 Jalapeno pepper; diced
1 ts Salt
1 ts White pepper
1 ts Ground black pepper
1 ts Dried thyme
1 ts Fresh thyme
1 ts Dried oregano
1 ts Fresh oregano
3 tb File powder
3 Bay leaves
2 ts Paprika
5 c Seafood stock (see recipe)
1 ts Cayenne pepper or to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
12 sm Oysters
1/2 lb Bay shrimp
1/2 lb Crab meat
1/2 lb White fish (cod or halibut) in bite-size pieces

Melt the margarine in a small soup pot. Add the bell peppers, celery, and onion. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, seasonings, and spices. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as the mixture will tend to stick. The thick scrapings from the pan bottom add to the texture and flavor of the gumbo. Add SEAFOOD STOCK and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste, about 1 teaspoon of cayenne and 2 dashes of Tabasco. Just before serving, add the oysters, shrimp, crab, and white fish. Cover pot, turn off heat, and poach the seafood for 10 minutes. (The oil from the heated margarine will separate during cooking and should be skimmed from the surface of the gumbo before adding seafood.)

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