Seafood Gumbo

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3 1⁄2 hours 8 Servings Print RecipeEmail Recipe


1cupoil (or bacon drippings)
1cupall-purpose flour
1poundfresh okra (or one 10 ounce package frozen okra)
2cupcelery (finely chopped)
2cuponions (finely chopped)
1cupgreen bell pepper (finely chopped)
1cupfresh parsley (finely chopped)
2clovegarlic (minced)
10cupwater (or 10 cups lightly flavored fish or chicken stock)
1poundwhole tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6ouncecan tomato paste
1cupuncooked rice (optional)
2 bay leaves
1⁄4cupworcestershire sauce
1dashtabasco sauce
1teaspooncumin seeds (roasted and crushed)
2teaspoonsalt (or to taste)
1⁄2teaspoonground black pepper
1cupdry white wine
1largecrab body (cleaned and quartered, if available)
2pounduncooked shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1⁄2cupparsley (chopped, to garnish)
  hot white rice (optional)


You may choose between the okra or filé for a thickener, you do not need to use both.

In a heavy saucepan or skillet, heat the oil or bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time, and blend into the fat.

The roux should cook slowly over low heat for 45 minutes or until it becomes a deep chocolate brown. Allow small bubbles to rise through the roof, and stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Be careful not to scorch. When the roux has cooked, set the skillet aside.

If using, thaw frozen okra in boiling hot water according to instructions on the package. If fresh, wash, stem and break okra pods into 1/2 inch pieces. Blanched either thawed or fresh pods 3 to 5 minutes in lightly salted boiling water to firm the texture. Drain.

In a large (6 to 8 quart) sauce pot or kettle melt the butter to bubbling and add the okra. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the okra is slightly browned and its ropy texture has disappeared.

Add celery, onions, green pepper, parsley and garlic. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. The vegetables should be translucent and slightly tender. Stir occasionally.

Pour the root into the sauce pot with the vegetables. Stir to blend well.

Add the water or stock to the saucepan and place over medium-high heat to bring to a boil. While liquid is heating, add the whole tomatoes, tomato paste, rice (if wanted here), bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, cumin, cayenne, thyme, salt, if desired, and pepper. Add the wine.

The crab body is added to the gumbo now; the other shellfish and/or finfish will be added later. Bring the gumbo to a gentle boil, partially cover and simmer over low heat for 1-1/2 hours.

The gumbo may be prepared to the stage and held in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days before adding the shellfish. Putting the gumbo aside for a day or so will enhance its flavor.

In the meantime prepare the seafood and/or finfish. If the shrimp are frozen, drop them into cold water for a moment to separate pieces. Set aside. Cut the fish into 2-inch pieces. If the gumbo has been refrigerated, bring to room temperature.

Drop the shellfish (and/or finfish) into the gumbo and return the soup to a simmer. Let it cook for an additional 30 min. or until the shellfish are cooked. Skim off any oil on the surface and discard.

If the gumbo seems to thick, add water to desired consistency. It should be quite thick.

Gumbo thickened and flavored with filé should not be reheated; therefore, add filé only to the portion that is to be served at this time.

Ladle the gumbo over a bed of hot white rice for each serving. Pass the filé as a condiment.


If some of the shellfish items are not available in the market, substitute finfish in the same amount, such as catfish, scrod, red snapper, sea bass, etc.

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