I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone it’s officially time to gear up for Christmas. Yes, it’s hard to believe that this year is coming to a close. Seeing beautiful Christmas decor and listening to festive holiday tunes are a constant reminder that we must enjoy every moment of each day of 2016. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this time of year is always bitter-sweet. Before I get ahead of myself, I have to share my family’s non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It is so flavorful, so delicious and… well you just have to try it. I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s my Seafood Chicken Gumbo Recipe. It’s loaded with crab, shrimp, chicken and sausage.
Gumbo is my husband’s favorite dish. When I first shared my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family years ago, I was shocked to learn that my mother-in-law cooked the traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well as a huge pot of gumbo. For anyone who knows, that’s a lot of work. Oh and by the way, when I say huge, I’m not exaggerating. She has a pot that could literally feed an army. I have no clue where she purchased it but it is ginormous. Anyhow, my husband and I would go straight for the gumbo primarily because we are not huge fans of turkey.
When I started hosting Thanksgiving, I decided to make it a tradition to prepare a big pot of Seafood Chicken Gumbo. For one, it’s a dish that everyone loves and looks forward to and it’s different (i.e. hence our non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner). This has become my signature Thanksgiving dish. I’m sure there are many versions of making gumbo but this Seafood Chicken Gumbo Recipe is one that my family and I absolutely love. It may seen intimidating but it’s a really easy recipe. It does require time but the end result is amazing. I prefer doing all the prep work a day before by:
- de-veining the shrimp
- frying the party wings (this is sometimes done on the morning of)
- chopping all the vegetables (onion, bell peppers, celery)
- slicing and baking the beef and turkey smoked sausage (to bake off the grease)
- cleaning the crab
and on the morning of Thanksgiving all I need to do is begin the cooking process.
This Seafood Chicken Gumbo Recipe isn’t complicated. It’s really simple; however, if I had to choose one thing that’s a bit challenging it would be getting that perfect gumbo flavor. Getting that flavor takes time, so it’s a MUST that you taste test along the way and SEASON as necessary. It’s all about the broth, the seasoning and the right amount of gumbo file.
Keep in mind that the shrimp and crab are the stars of the show. I just love shrimp. They’re so versatile and cook so quickly. If you love shrimp and are looking for a quick and easy shrimp dish check out my Skinny Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Shrimp Pasta.
- 1 - 1/2 onions chopped (plus reserve 1 tablespoon)
- 2 green bell pepper chopped (plus reserve 1 tablespoon)
- 4 sticks celery chopped (plus reserve 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 bag frozen party wings or drumettes fried (I purchased the frozen bag at Costco)
- 5 packs smoked sausage sliced (your choice of turkey pork, or beef - I used turkey & beef)
- 4 lbs large or jumbo shrimp
- 5 - 1/2 lbs crabs
- kosher salt start with 3 tablespoons more will be needed
- lawry's seasoned salt start with 3 tablespoons more will be needed
- all purpose unbleached flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tblsp oil from fried chicken
- 2 tblsp all purpose unbleached flour
- canola oil or vegetable oil used for frying party wings
- pure ground gumbo file start with 3 tablespoons more will be needed
- garlic powder start with 3 tablespoons more will be needed
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- Wash and chop onions, bell peppers and celery. De-vein and wash shrimp. Clean all crab. Set all clean ingredients aside in separate bowls.
- Slice sausage and place on a cookie sheet and bake until just caramelized. Cooking time may vary depending on the type of sausage. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes at 400 degrees watch closely so they do not burn. Once done drain excess grease by placing on paper towels. Set aside.
- Wash, season and fry chicken. Set aside.
- In a very large pot, fill with water more than half way but not to the top. Place on stove over medium to high heat. Add chopped vegetables, tomato sauce, crab, salt, garlic powder, lawry's seasoned salt, and gumbo file. Stir well. Add sausage and stir.
- Continue to let water boil. You will see vegetables begin to soften. During this process continue to enhance the taste by seasoning with salt, garlic powder, lawry's seasoned salt, and gumbo file to get the perfect flavor. This step will take time.
- Prepare your homemade gravy by adding 2 tablespoons of oil that you used to fry your chicken, over medium heat. Add in reserved onions, bell pepper and celery until they begin to soften, add in 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk for a couple of minutes. Slowly add in 2 cups of chicken broth and whisk until gravy thickens. Add to your large gumbo pot and stir.
- Continue cooking taste testing along the way - this is important. After 2 hours or so, add your fried chicken. Note: It is not necessary for you to fry your chicken although frying the chicken adds more flavor. I do not add the chicken too early. If you add the chicken to the pot too early it will cook off the bone.
- After three hours all of your flavors should be well incorporated and you should have that perfect gumbo taste. Add your shrimp and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Serve over rice and ENJOY
I typically use whole crab; however, the seafood department at Costco would not be available until after Thanksgiving so instead I used snow crab leg clusters which were great also.
In the past, I've also added lobster which was amazing.
You can also add okra although I don't because I do not like the taste.