This generations old Seafood Gumbo Recipe is chock-full of tender shrimp, oysters and crabmeat swimming in a spiced broth that began with a deep medium flavorful roux. This has that spicy kick that will warm you up all year round! If you love this gumbo, you will definitely love other New Orleans classics like this Shrimp Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice and Low Country Boil!
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A Generations Old Classic Seafood Gumbo Recipe
I’m having all the Wintertime feels these days y’all. It’s cold (the snow has started early in Chicago), the daylight seems rare and the vitamin D deficiency is in full effect. Lately, I’ve been craving just a little bit more warmth in my everyday life. Times like these I look to the warmth of my kitchen to comfort me. Recipes like the one I’m sharing today are the ones I rely on to sustain me through these cold months. Also this is definitely the recipe you want to have on your New Year’s menu! This Seafood Gumbo recipe is traditional, and the perfect celebratory dish for the holiday!
Let’s make a bowl together!
Today’s recipe is brought to you by none other than my good friend Toni Tipton Martin. Toni’s latest project Jubilee is a collection of recipes written to celebrate the rich history of African-American cooking. And oh man, it is fantastic!
In Jubilee we are taken through a tour of the South through the perspective of the pioneering figures who established what we know as Southern Cuisine. From enslaved chefs to upper class entrepreneurs, the roots of African-American cooking are diverse and deserving of celebration.
Do yourself a favor, get this book and take a little culinary journey through the South!
What Is Gumbo? What Is The Difference Between A Gumbo and Jambalaya?
Gumbo is typically served as a rich soup, sometimes spooned over rice. It has a hearty broth that starts with a roux. Jambalaya is rice dominant dish that is cooked in a large skillet, similar to a paella.
Both Gumbo and Jambalaya are staples of Creole and Cajun cooking but they are also both distinctively different. Each dish requires different methods of preparation and varying ingredients.
The differences seem subtle but believe me, these are two very individual dishes.
Gumbo ingredients vary just as much as anything else. In this seafood gumbo recipe, these are the crucial ingredients that start off this gumbo’s Roux:
In equal parts, these are the beginning of your gumbo. It requires extreme patience. For a seafood gumbo, you will need to get to a medium brown roux.
For most gumbos, you will use one of the following or a combo: Okra, File’ Powder (ground sassafras leaves) or a Smooth Brown Roux. In this recipe, we use both a brown roux and okra.
This recipe also requires a stock. You can use a chicken stock, a fish stock or even a combination of both to create complex flavors.
For the seafood, we are using peeled and deveined shrimp, shucked oysters and crabmeat. If you want to create a sausage and seafood gumbo, feel free to add some andouille sausage as well. It will taste incredible.
How To Make Seafood Gumbo
Seafood Gumbo can be quite technically difficult to make. It disguises itself as a simple recipe but there are a few things you need to get right if you wanna make a great gumbo.
Tip 1: Watch Your Roux
A roux creates an essential foundation for this recipe. Some people prefer to use butter for their roux but folks like Toni and I prefer oil because it has a higher smoke point that allows you to cook it darker and create a richer base. Try to use a neutral oil that won’t affect the flavor of the gumbo.
Use a heavy bottomed pan and whisk to constantly stir your oil and flour over medium-high heat. Watch your roux very carefully because it burns quickly. Aim for rich brown coloration with absolutely no black specks. Those specks means you gotta start over!
Tip 2: Take It Slow and Easy
Remember the children’s tale about the Tortoise and the Hare? Well, in this case we are the Hare. Making this seafood gumbo recipe is quite the process and it deserves to be done properly. Take it slow and you’re guaranteed to win this race.
Slow cooking allows all the flavors of each and every one of the ingredients to come together. And think of this way, low and slow means little to no chance of burning.
Do a little pre-gumbo meditation, zone out to some tunes and enjoy a day spent in the kitchen making the meal of a lifetime.
Tip 3: Use Fresh Seafood
The majority of this gumbo is made up of different kinds of seafood. The quality and freshness of the seafood that you use are large factors in the outcome of your gumbo.
It doesn’t have to be high-end shellfish but be sure that your choices are ones that won’t make the next morning to be rougher than it has to be.
How To Serve Gumbo Recipe
Seafood Gumbo is traditionally served over rice but the choice is up to you! The rice is great but sometimes I love to mix it up and serve it as a stew with some cornbread on the side. Use the cornbread to sop up those tasty gumbo juices!
Can Seafood Gumbo Be Frozen and Reheated?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze and reheat your Seafood Gumbo. I mean, this ain’t a cheap dish to make and that means no spoonful can go to waste.
Actually, just like with many stews and braises, gumbo can taste better on the second day! The extra bit of time allows the seafood to marinate in all those delicious spices and juices. So it might be worth it to store and reheat.
Store gumbo in your refrigerator for up to three days and reheat gently on a stovetop. That means low heat, stirring often and some patience. Freeze gumbo for up to eight months in air-tight, freezer-safe containers. Reheat the same way!
Seafood Gumbo Recipe
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour or 3/4 cup, if you like a thicker gumbo
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green onions about 8
- 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 tbsp minced garlic 3 to 4 cloves
- 1/2 tsp minced Scotch Bonnet pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock or fish stock or combo of both
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb fresh or frozen okra sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 pint shucked oysters
- 1 lb claw crabmeat picked over
- Hot cooked rice for serving
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot, almost smoking. Gradually whisk in the flour, being careful not to splash the mixture so you don't get burned. Reduce the heat to low and cook and stir the roux continuously until medium brown and smoth, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium high. Add the onion, green onions, bell pepper, celery and stir until the vegetables are wilted but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chile pepper, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Reduce the heat to low and cook to allow the flavors to marry, about 20 minutes.
- Whisk in the warm stock in batches to prevent splattering. Add the bay leaf, then bring back to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt as desired. Add the okra, shrimp, oysters, and crab and simmer until just cooked, another few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour for the flavors to mingle. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Return the pot to medium low heat just until the soup is hot again. Spoon into serving bowls, add hot rice as desired, and sprinkle with parsley.