This Easy Seafood Gumbo Recipe made with the delicious flavors of chicken, smoked sausage, shrimp, crab and aromatic vegetables enveloped in a luscious and savory roux.
This Seafood gumbo is amazing and is one of my family’s favorite recipes of all time. It’s a dish that always remind us of those incredible Southern cuisines. This is one of our celebratory dish and is a tradition for us to serve gumbo on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, and other special occasions. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and a dish that everyone looks forward to throughout the year.
HOW TO MAKE GUMBO
Gumbo is made by prepping the following ingredients first:
- De-veining the shrimp
- Frying the party wings
- Chopping all the vegetables (onion, bell peppers, celery, a couple cloves of minced garlic)
- Slicing and baking the beef and turkey smoked sausage (to render the fat)
- Cleaning the crab
- Make roux (this can also be made the day off)
TIP: I recommend prepping all the ingredients the day before since gumbo takes a long time to cook. By having the ingredients already prepped ahead of time, saves you so much time. For example, I prep all my ingredients the day before Thanksgiving and store them in large ziploc bags in the fridge then on Thanksgiving day, all I have to do is add everything to the pot and allow it to cook for hours.
After prepping the ingredients:
- Fill your pot more than 3/4 full of water but not quite to the tip (the size of your pot may vary) to prevent it from overflowing after adding (crab, shrimp, chicken, and sausage)
- Add your crab, aromatic vegetables, seasonings, tomato sauce, sausage, and gumbo file
- Make roux and add it to the pot (to thicken and for added flavor)
- All the while adjust taste bu adding more seasoning and gumbo file
- Allow to cook for several hours
- Add chicken to the pot about 1-1/2 to 2 hours before cook time is up
- Cook in total for about 6 hours (while adjusting the taste throughout the entire cooking process to develop the perfect gumbo flavor)
- Add your shrimp at the very last minute since shrimp cooks REALLY FAST
You can use a combination of different sized shrimp although I prefer using large shrimp or prawns.
In addition, you can save yourself a lot of time by purchasing JUST snow crab legs. Snow crab legs are much easier to clean than whole crab (see photograph above of snow grab legs); however, I prefer cooking with whole crab. If you choose whole crab, make sure you clean it properly. (The photograph below has whole crab).
I photographed both types of crab to show you how they look. As you can see in the photograph above, snow crab legs are much longer and tend to taste a little sweet in my opinion. Both are great options and are super delicious.
IS GUMBO BETTER THE LONGER IT COOKS
Without a doubt, gumbo is better the longer it cooks. Although gumbo is relatively easy to prepare, getting that perfect flavor can be challenging which is why gumbo requires a long cooking time for the most delicious flavor. So, patience is a definitely a virtue when it comes to making gumbo. In my opinion, gumbo can’t reach its maximum flavor in less than 5 hours. For optimum flavor, 5 to 6 hours of cooking time is best.
WHAT GIVES GUMBO ITS FLAVOR
There are many different elements that give gumbo its unique flavor.
The combination of all the following ingredients give gumbo its flavor:
- Chopped vegetables (onion, green bell pepper, celery)
- Gumbo file and other dry seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt)
- Tomato sauce
- Fried chicken party wings
- Jumbo shrimp or prawns
Cooked long and slow creates the perfect cohesive dish that we know as gumbo.
DOES REAL GUMBO HAVE TOMATOES
You can add stewed tomatoes to real gumbo. I personally do not add stewed tomatoes to my gumbo recipe, but I do know of people who do and it’s just as delicious. Instead, I add tomato sauce for added flavor and color.
IS GUMBO BETTER THE SECOND DAY
Gumbo is absolutely better the second day. In fact, we always look forward to having gumbo the next day for lunch or dinner. By this time, the flavor has had even more time to develop for the most incredible and rich flavor.
HOW LONG CAN I KEEP GUMBO IN THE FRIDGE
I recommend keeping gumbo in the fridge for only one day. After one day, I suggest storing any left over gumbo in a freezer safe container and storing it in the freezer. Gumbo can be stored in the freezer for… months.
HOW TO MAKE GUMBO THICKER
You can make gumbo thicker in two ways:
- Adding roux to the gumbo
- Allowing the gumbo to continue to cook until it reduces a bit
For other seafood dishes, check out these (CLICK LINKS BELOW):
How to Steam Clams (Also includes a recipe for Cajun flavored Claims)
NOTE: Depending on where you grew up, people tend to cook gumbo differently. This is my family’s way of cooking gumbo which we all love. Some people add okra to their gumbo I don’t because I do not like okra. Please do not feel offended if I do not add okra in my gumbo.
Thanks so much for visiting.
- 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
- 5-5-1/2 lbs snow crab leg clusters OR 5 to 6 whole crabs (properly cleaned)
- kosher salt start with 5 tablespoons more will be needed
- lawry's seasoned salt start with 5 tablespoons more will be needed
- pure ground gumbo file start with 5 tablespoons more will be needed
- garlic powder start with 5 tablespoons more will be needed
- onion powder start with 5 tablespoons more will be needed
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup canola oil or vegetable oil used for frying party wings
- 3 tbsp oil reserved from fried chicken + THE BROWN BITS
- 3 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cup chicken broth or stock
Add oil, butter, and brown bits over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and onion and saute until onion begins to soften. Add flour and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Slowing add chicken broth while whisking continuously. Season with salt and continue whisking until roux begins to thicken. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Wash and chop onions, bell peppers and celery. De-vein and wash shrimp. Clean all crab. Slice sausage. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels and season. 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.
Place cooking oil in skillet or dutch oven over high eat. When cooking oil reaches 350 degrees. Add chicken and fry until a nice brown crispy outer coating develops and it's no longer pink inside. When done, remove from oil and place on a prepared baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. NOTE: fry the chicken in batches.
Fill your pot more than 3/4 full of water but not quite to the tip (the size of your pot may vary) to prevent it from overflowing after adding (crab, shrimp, chicken, and sausage). Place on stove over medium high heat. Add chopped vegetables, tomato sauce, crab, salt, garlic powder, lawry's seasoned salt, and gumbo file. Stir well. Add sausage and bring pot back to a boil. Add the roux.
Continue cooking and taste testing along the way (add more lawry's, garlic powder, onion powder, and gumbo file THIS IS IMPORTANT. At about the 2 hour mark, add the fried chicken to the pot and continue to cook.
Cook in total for about 6 hours (while adjusting the taste throughout the entire cooking process to develop the perfect gumbo flavor).
Add the shrimp at the very last minute since shrimp cooks REALLY FAST
- Serve over rice and ENJOY
In the past, I've also added lobster which was amazing.
If you prefer pan frying or baking your chicken instead of frying that's perfectly fine. Pan frying or deep frying adds more flavor add makes the perfect base for a delicious roux.
Do not add the cooked chicken to the pot of gumbo too early as it will cook off the bone during the cooking process.
When cooking authentic gumbo, you have to be patient as this is how the flavors of real gumbo develop over time.
**IF USING WHOLE CRAB, THE PREP TIME WILL TAKE LONGER THAN INDICATED DUE TO THE TIME IT TAKES TO PROPERLY CLEAN CRAB
***PREP ALL INGREDIENTS THE DAY BEFORE
****ON THE DAY THAT I COOK GUMBO, I START AT 10:00 AM AND ALLOW THE GUMBO TO COOK UNTIL 3 PM
*****THE SIZE OF MY POT: 12-1/2 inches in diameter and 9 inches in height
NOTE: Depending on where you grew up, people tend to cook gumbo differently. This is my family's way of cooking gumbo which we all love. Some people add okra to their gumbo I don't because I do not like okra. Please do not feel offended if I do not add okra in my gumbo.