Melissa is a certified food scientist with over 20 years in the food industry. New food development and matching are her specialties.
The seafood used in this recipe is only a suggestion. You may have more or less of an ingredient due to availability. This is a starting point with explanation to make your own unique gumbo.
Did you create a masterpiece?
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, 1/4 inch sliced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 claws crab
- 4-5 shrimp, large
- 12 oz crawfish, frozen
- 8 oz crab meat, This comes in a plastic tub
- 1 filet flounder, or fish of your choice
- 2 cups okra, frozen
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 7 Tbsp flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp seafood boil, (Optional - I used Slap Ya Mama)
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced
- To taste salt & pepper
- Water &/or stock, as desired
Put Some Love in Your Food
- *Read all instructions before starting. I want to start by talking about roux, as it is the most daunting aspect of making gumbo for most. Roux not only thickens your soup, but it can add a myriad of flavors ranging from brown butter to sharply nutty depending on how long you cook it. Roux is not hard to make, but it does take time and patience. As the heart of the soup, you have to use some heart to create your roux. But you can do it if you take your time. In this recipe, I am combining oil with butter to raise the smoke point of the butter. This combination will keep the butter from burning as easily, while maintaining the wonderful flavor butter imparts. It will also slow down the browning process, but the trade off is worth it for a rookie roux maker.
- Heat a small saute or fry pan over medium low heat. I had a cooking area of about 6 inches in the pan for this recipe. Any more and you risk a higher chance of burning. Add 3 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp oil. When hot, add 5 Tbsp flour. I only add 5 to start to make it easier to whisk the roux into a smooth liquid. Stir this mixture like crazy to start, making sure to get all bottom and sides of the pan. A flat bottomed whisk will work, but I highly recommend you buy a heat resistant rubber spatula. A rubber spatula is easy on the pan and clears every part of the surface. Once the initial bubbling has subsided and the roux has gone smooth, gradually add the remaining flour.
- Stir the roux rapidly. Remove it from the heat and lower the heat if you have any doubt that you are getting clumps cooking too fast. If it burns, you will need to start over. This batch took me 45 minutes of stirring to get it to my desired color. The time will reduce as you get a feel for how fast you can cook the flour/fat mixture without burning.
- When the roux reaches a dark brown, set it aside (remove it from the pan if you're afraid it will burn) and cook your vegetables. Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and poblano. Cook until lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic releases its aroma—about 1 minute. Pour the vegetables in a stock pot.
- Instead of just cooking with water or premade stock, we are going to extract some flavor from shellfish. In a medium stockpot, place the crab claws (I used rock crab) and cover with 4 qts of water. Add salt to taste. Begin the boil, and peel the raw shrimp. Add the shrimp shell to the stock. Boil for about 30 minutes. You can start this first and cook the roux while the stock cooks. Roughly chop the shrimp and return it to the refrigerator, as this will get added toward the end.
- In the skillet you used to brown the vegetables, saute the fish filet for one minute per side. Season with seafood boil if desired. Roughly chop with a spatula and add to the stock pot. Pull the crab claws out of the stock and crack the meat out of them. Add the claws back to the stock to extract more flavor. Cook for another 10 minutes and strain your stock.
- Add the crawfish and okra (thawed), and the crab meat (that you cooked and bought prepared). Add the roux, then the stock. Move to the stove and cook over medium heat until the soup comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the bay leaves and additional water or stock as desired. Cook for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let the gumbo sit as desired to let the flavors mellow.
- Serve over rice as desired and/or with garlic bread.