A powerful hearty bowl of SEAFOOD GUMBO is all you’ll need to spice up a cold rainy night. With a thick flavorful stock and a mix of tasty shrimp, crabs, sausages, and a variety of slow-cooked crunchy vegetables, every spoonful is going to be a jazzy delight! Get a cup of perfectly cooked rice and you’re all set for an easy wonderful dinner.
I love love love this classic dish because it’s a popular southern cuisine that’s so easy to make. If you’ve read this far into my blog, you’d know that I love playing around with flavors, spices, and homemade seasonings, this dish is the manifestation of those.
The thick and rich seafood gumbo soup alone packs a great deal of flavor, let alone the perfectly cooked meats and veggies.
If you’ve ever wanted to make your own homemade gumbo but didn’t know how you came to the right place. I’ll show you an easy gumbo recipe that you can do right now in the comfort of your own kitchen. Prep this for your next family dinner and see their reaction.
What is Gumbo?
Gumbo is a dish that represents the melting pot of cultural influences. Although heavily inspired by French creole cuisine, the variations of this Louisiana classic are mainly differentiated by the lifestyles and preferences of Creole cultures. Because of this, the variations of this dish can be classified by how it tastes like or by the ingredients used.
Seafood Gumbo is a popular variation of the dish where mostly shellfish such as shrimp, crabs, and even lobsters were used as the main meat.
Originally, this version of Gumbo was inexpensive as shellfish were very affordable back in the day. Today, if you go to your local restaurant, you’re gonna find yourself paying a hefty price for one meal.
Seafood Gumbo Ingredients
For this seafood gumbo recipe, the ingredients can be easily found in your local wet market or grocery store. Here are the ingredients for this homemade dish and why it blends perfectly together.
Garlic, Onion, Celery, Green bell pepper along with Bay leaf and Thyme – These ingredients, when sautéed, not only sounds so good but it also smells great. The aromatic sizzle of these ingredients can make your mouth water with excitement even if you’re a few bayous away.
Smoked Sausage – this hunky piece of meat is already great in itself. The mild spice of the smokey kick gives an undeniably iconic touch to the whole dish.
French Roux – The perfect thickener for Seafood Gumbo, it tastes like a mild smoky nutty sauce that balances the flavors from the other ingredients. The flour and butter are browned over the canola oil until the perfect rich dark brown color is achieved.
Creole seasoning – a seasoning that adds boldness and extra flavor to any dish. This is extra helpful since we’re using seafood. This easy gumbo recipe just got easier.
Paprika – it’s a common powder found in the kitchen but the effects of this to your dish will surely WOW you. It adds a deep reddish hue to the whole dish and a kick of spice to warm you up.
Chicken Boullion or Cubes – this baby adds a slight flavor that we can all recognize. The flavor is strong enough that it gives us a hint of chicken stock but doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.
Crab legs and Shrimp – Oh yes! Just hearing those two makes me want to make a bowl of Seafood Gumbo now but I still need to tell you why it’s perfect to use these for your dish. The natural saltiness of these shellfish actually enhances the flavors of the stock that makes it richer.
Can You Freeze Gumbo?
Yes, you can. Since Seafood Gumbo is served hot, you’ll have to cool the whole dish before freezing it. If you have a blast chiller, that would be a great way to cool it down quickly.
Alternatively, you can try the traditional ice bath technique. You can fill your sink halfway with ice and place the bowl so that the ice would surround the bowl, do this until the whole dish is chilled. This is an important step to ensure the shelf life of the food as heat can create moisture inside the container which can induce bacterial growth.
Transfer the gumbo in an airtight container and make sure that it is sealed perfectly. Because you’ll store this for a long time, it’s good to mark the container with the date when the dish was made. Keep it in the freezer at freezing point or around –17 degrees C or 1.4 degrees F for up to six months.
Proper way to Reheat this Dish
To reheat frozen seafood gumbo, first, you must defrost it by placing it in the refrigerator or chiller. If you want to defrost it faster, place the sealed container in a tub or bowl of water until its completely defrosted changing the water when it gets cold.
You can now reheat your gumbo in a sauce over the stovetop and serve it immediately. Because it’s seafood, it can easily go bad if left for too long.
What Goes with Seafood Gumbo?
Traditionally, rice is served along with seafood gumbo. But you can also change this to other plain flavored carbohydrates such as Homemade Pita, or just simply sliced bread (See my Homemade White Bread HERE). One pairing for this dish I find really good is this Homemade Garlic Bread. I couldn’t get enough of it.
A plain baguette will also do justice for this homemade gumbo and stay true to its French creole origins. However, you can make these Homemade Tortillas to serve along with this dish.
More Classic Recipes
How to Make Seafood Gumbo
Add 1-2 teaspoons of butter or oil to a saucepan or skillet. Then throw in shrimp shells, the remaining scraps of onion, garlic, celery together with aromatics like bay leaf and thyme. Saute for about 5 -7 minutes, stirring constantly, to prevent any burns. Add about 7 cups of water to it. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let it simmer for about 10- 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain using a sieve. Set stock aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven, over medium heat, then add sausage, brown for about 3-5 minutes, remove and set aside. Pour in remaining oil, butter, and flour, cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for about 10-15 minutes or until it turns a rich deep brown color – just like chocolate. Do not walk away from the stove during this process. It might burn. When you have achieved your desired color. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, and celery to the pot and cook for about 8- 10 minutes –stirring often. Then return sausage back to the pot, followed by crab legs, creole seasoning, chicken bouillon or cubes, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in 6 cups of shrimp stock, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes. Add the shrimp, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir in the gumbo file powder, green onions, and chopped parsley. Adjust the thickness of the soup and flavor with broth or water and salt.
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 8 oz smoked sausages
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1 piece medium onion , diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic , minced
- 1 piece medium green bell pepper , diced
- 1 cup celery , chopped
- 1 pound crab legs
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chicken bullion powder or cubes
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 pieces bay leaves
- 6 cups shrimp or chicken stock , substitute with water
- 1 pound cooked shrimp , peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon gumbo file
- 2 pieces green onions , chopped
- ¼ cup parsley
- salt , adjust to taste
How to Make Shrimp Stock
- 1-2 teaspoons butter or oil
- 1 pound shrimp with shells
- remaining scraps of onion, garlic, and celery
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 7 cups of water
How to Make Shrimp Stock
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of butter or oil to a saucepan or skillet.
- Then throw in shrimp shells, the remaining scraps of onion, garlic, celery together with aromatics like bay leaf and thyme.
- Saute for about 5 -7 minutes, stirring constantly, to prevent any burns. Add about 7 cups of water to it.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let it simmer for about 10- 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain using a sieve. Set the shrimp stock aside.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven, over medium heat, then add sausages, brown for about 3-5 minutes, remove and set aside.
- Pour in remaining oil, butter, and flour, cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for about 10-15 minutes or until it turns a rich deep brown color just like chocolate. Do not walk away from the stove during this process. It might burn.
- When you have achieved your desired color, add the onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and celery to the pot and cook for about 8- 10 minutes –stirring often.
- Then return the sausages back to the pot, followed by crab legs, Creole seasoning, chicken bouillon or cubes, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour in 6 cups of shrimp stock, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes. Add the shrimp, and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the gumbo file powder, green onions, and chopped parsley.
- Adjust the thickness of the soup and flavor with broth or water and salt.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.