Julia’s Seafood Gumbo and Chicken Gumbo

Here’s my recipe for seafood gumbo. I use techniques that I’ve learned over the years, such as making the roux in the oven and baking the sausage while the roux cooks. I chop up the vegetables while the roux is baking. The rice cooks while the gumbo simmers, and the bread toasts while the gumbo rests.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • Gumbo
    • 4 to 5 large cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
    • 1 medium yellow (or white) onions diced – should make 1 cup
    • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced – should make at least 1/2 a cup
    • 1 spicy pepper (optional)
    • 1 to 2 large ribs of celery, diced – should make at least 1/2 a cup
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 4 oz of all-purpose flour, about 1 cup minus 4 teaspoons
    • 2 cups okra, cut into rounds, fresh or frozen is fine
    • 2 cups beef or chicken stock, low sodium
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 tbsp gumbo file powder
    • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • fresh ground black pepper to taste, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste. (1 to 2 tsp for spicy gumbo)
    • 1/2 tsp savory
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • 1/2 tsp oregano (Mexican, if you can get it)
    • Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab Boil
      • If the bag version, one bag will do.
      • If the liquid version, then 1 tsp, and you can add more to taste
    • 1 1/2 lb deveined shelled raw shrimp (If making chicken gumbo, use 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of bite size cooked or raw skinless chicken. Skin does not add anything to gumbo.)
    • 1 cup crab meat, picked over for shells (Leave out if making chicken gumbo) The crab meat is optional for the seafood gumbo. If it is left out, add another 1/2 lb of shrimp, and you have shrimp gumbo.
    • 1lb andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices (if your sausage is not very smoky, you can add 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke to the gumbo)
    • 2 tsp for cooking the sausage or cooking oil spray
    • 8 tsp chopped parsley for garnish (optional) or 2 scallions cut diagonally for garnish (optional)
  • Rice
    • 1 cup long grain rice
    • 1 1/2 cup water to 2 cups water
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp butter or oil
  • French Bread
    • Baguette
    • Butter

You can leave out all the herbs and spices except for the gumbo file powder and the Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab Boil. You still need to add salt.

Instructions

  • First you make a roux. I like to use Alton Brown’s method of baking the roux. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 5 to 6 quart cast iron Dutch oven, whisk the vegetable oil and flour together, put the Dutch oven in the middle of the oven, and bake for an hour and a half, whisking 2 or 3 times throughout the baking process. Carefully remove from oven when it is a dark golden brown and turn off the oven. You can make the roux on the stove top. In cast iron Dutch oven whisk the vegetable oil and flour together and whisking often, cook over medium high heat until the roux is a dark golden brown. This is a lot faster, but time consuming. I use the time the roux is baking to chop all my vegetables.
  • While the roux is baking, brown the sausage in oil over medium high heat and set aside. You can also brown the sausage in the oven on a lightly oiled sheet pan while the roux bakes.
  • Once the roux has baked, remove it from the oven and put it on medium high heat on the stove. Stir in the onions, bell pepper, hot pepper (if using), celery and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the cloves, black pepper, cayenne pepper, savory, thyme, oregano, and salt
  • Slowly add the beef stock (or chicken stock) and water to the Dutch oven, whisking it in to prevent lumps.
  • Stir in the gumbo file powder, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab Boil.
  • Stir in the okra and sausage (and liquid smoke, if using) and let boil. Turn down heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Once you’ve started to let the gumbo simmer, make the rice; see the Kitchn site on how to make rice. Or make it in your rice cooker or Instant Pot if you have one.
  • Taste the gumbo to see if salty enough, hot enough, or if any other seasoning needs to be added. Add additional seasoning, if needed and stir. Let simmer for about 5 more minutes and taste again.
  • Stir in the shrimp and crab meat. Cover, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then serve over rice by putting about a 1/2 cup of cooked rice in a bowl and ladling the gumbo over the rice.
  • To garnish the gumbo, sprinkle with the parsley or scallions.
  • While you are letting the gumbo sit, make the bread. Turn on the broiler, slice the baguette diagonally into 8 pieces, butter one side, put buttered side up on a sheet pan, and brown under the broiler. Do not step away, this goes from white to burned very quickly. (Yes, this is the voice of experience.)
  • Set out Tabasco sauce and bread for serving with the gumbo. You don’t really need anything else, but you can serve a green salad with it.

Notes:

  • You can add different types of light seafood, as long as you keep it to about 2 lbs of seafood. If you add white fish, try to make sure it doesn’t have bones. Don’t put oily fish in gumbo. I know people who put crab bodies and legs in gumbo, and while they are very tasty, they are very messy to eat.
  • The gumbo tastes better the next day, so if you want you can make it ahead up to 3 days before you serve it. You should make the rice the same day you want to serve it.
  • You can turn this into chicken gumbo by leaving out the seafood and adding cooked chicken when you would add the shrimp and crab. If you have raw chicken, you should add it when you add the okra and sausage. In both cases, the chicken should be bite sized. You’ll need about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of chicken. Thigh meat is very good.
  • Garlic bread is also good with gumbo.
Okra Imagine from Clipart-library.com

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4 thoughts on “Julia’s Seafood Gumbo and Chicken Gumbo

    1. It works great! I was watching the “Good Eats” episode with Alton Brown making gumbo, and he wound up making the roux in the oven, after claiming to have burned the roux a couple of times on the stove. It just seemed so much easier to bake the roux, that I tried it, and I mostly do that now.

      Liked by 1 person

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