My friend Katy Simmons knows a thing or two about catfish. Her dad is one of the biggest catfish farmers in the Delta, so she knows more ways to cook with catfish than you can imagine. I grew up eating Simmons Catfish and thanks to Katy's sweet birthday present for me, I have a bag in my freezer! I made her catfish gumbo and took a big helping to the office for lunch - everyone kept coming in to see what the delicious smell was. I ended up sharing it with two co-workers, and they were wowed!. Katy and I both prefer to make a roux for more flavor, but that is the hardest part, which isn't hard at all, just a little time-consuming. So grab some catfish and get to stirrin...you won't regret it.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups beef broth
1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes
1 package (10 oz.) frozen sliced okra
1/2 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. oregano
1 t. salt
2 1/2 lbs. Simmons catfish, cut into 1" cubes
If making a roux: In a skillet over medium heat, mix 3 tablespoons oil with 3 T. flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux turns dark brown, about 30 minutes.
If not making a roux, which is stupid and I don't recommend: heat oil in large stockpot.
Next step is to add celery, green pepper, onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add beef broth, tomatoes, okra, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, oregano and salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add catfish and continue simmering 15 minutes or until catfish flakes easily. Remove bay leaf. Serve over cooked rice.