Seafood Gumbo is a staple in the Cajun and Creole Cultures. As in most Cajun Cooking recipes, we will start with a Roux. A roux is used as a thickening agent for this traditional seafood soup. The word Gumbo derives from the Creole culture which is the West African word for okra.
Okra is also used as a thickening agent as is a special spice called Gumbo File’. File’ is ground sassafras. We sprinkle Gumbo File’ on the bowl of gumbo at the table for a little extra spiciness.
You may think that Gumbo, whether Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or Seafood Gumbo, is only good in the cold weather. However, we enjoy Gumbo year round. We especially like to make it for Christmas Eve and enjoy with our daughters. It’s become a tradition at our house. Give it a try sometime. It’s really not hard to make and tastes oh so good.
Ingredients for New Orleans Seafood Gumbo
This quantity is for a 12 qt Stock Pot. If you’re using a 6 qt Large Pot, reduce all by half.
Step One: The Base
1/4 cup Canola Oil
8 cups Cajun Trinity
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1 Large 28 oz can of Rotel tomatoes (substitute plain diced tomatoes if you prefer)
4 quarts fresh Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
3 pounds frozen Cut Okra
5 Bay Leaves
Step Two: The Roux
2 sticks Butter
1 cup All-purpose flour
Step Three: The Seafood
3 pounds fresh large shrimp (peeled and deveined (if needed)
1 pound White Crab Meat
1 pound Claw Crab Meat
1 pound Crawfish Tails (when available)
1 pint Fresh Oysters (optional)
Garnish: chopped green onions and Gumbo File’
Step One: The Base – begin by heating 1/4 canola oil in a large stock pot (medium high #7). Saute’ Cajun Trinity until vegetables are well cooked. Add 2 tablespoons minced garlic. Pour in the large can of Rotel tomatoes and 4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add okra and stir well. Reduce heat to medium (#6) and allow okra to cook 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom.
Step Two: The Roux – when the okra is about done, start on the Roux. In a deep skillet, melt 2 sticks of butter on medium heat #6. Using a flat edged spatula, gradually stir in the 1 cup of flour. Continually stir – be careful not to splash on yourself. This is very hot and can burn you. Once you a achieve a dark carmel color, turn off the heat. Keep moving the roux so it doesn’t scorch. Carefully, pour into the stock pot and stir as you go. This is best done with two people if possible. Continue to simmer on #4 for 10 minutes.
Step Three: The Seafood – add Shrimp, Crab, Crawfish Tails and Oysters shortly before you are ready to serve. The seafood will only take about 5 minutes to cook.
Serving Suggestions for New Orleans Seafood Gumbo
Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped green onions and Gumbo File’. A side salad and French rolls are excellent accompaniments.
Tip: If you have some Seafood Gumbo leftover, allow the gumbo to cool and then put in freezer containers for a quick supper.