Light Brown Cajun Roux: In a black iron pot or skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat to approximately 300 degrees F.
Using a wooden roux spoon, slowly add the flour, stirring constantly until the roux is peanut butter in color, approximately two minutes. Reserve Light Brown Cajun Roux at room temperature.
Dark Brown Cajun Roux: Proceed as you would in the light brown Cajun roux recipe but continue cooking until the roux is the color of a light caramel. This roux should almost be twice as dark as the light brown roux but not as dark as chocolate.
When dark brown Cajun roux is done add the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent and the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes. Add the smoked andouille or smoked sausage and the seasonings, and about ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and continue to cook another 10 minutes.
Fry okra with a small amount of grease and salt until okra is soft. (Avoid sticking.) Stir okra into gumbo and cook for another 15 minutes, and then add the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook another 30 minutes.
With the gumbo on very low heat, add the Light Brown Cajun Roux and tomato paste. You'll find the greatest success when whisking the cool roux (that's room temperature cool, not refrigerator cool) into the hot gumbo. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
----------> Freeze here for future use (if desired).
Add blue crabs. Remove the hard top shell from the crabs (reserving for stuffed crabs or for shellfish stock), and break each crab in two down the middle. Remove the claws. Add to the stock.) Simmer for 10 minutes,.
Add the shrimp 10 minutes before serving.
Add the oysters and oyster liquor 5 minutes before serving.
Add the crabmeat just before serving (don't cook the crabmeat, just stir until it is heated through).
Add additional Shrimp Stock (or chicken broth) if gumbo is too thick.
Taste and correct seasonings.
Place about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of rice in each bowl and ladle the gumbo over and around it. Serve with plenty of French bread and good beer or white wine.
YIELD: About 16-18 entrée servings or 28-34 appetizer servings (omit hard shell crabs if serving cups of gumbo as an appetizer).