This hearty luscious meaty Seafood Gumbo is the kind of meal to cook when you want to make a special dinner! I love all the flavors in this Southern dish!
Because of how close gumbo is to West African cooking, I could tell that this Seafood Gumbo has its roots in West Africa where I grew up.
The mixture of seafood and meat in the same pot of food reminds me of the stews/soups I ate while growing up like African Okra soup or Egusi Soup.
Gumbo is a meal native to the Creole/Cajun people of Louisiana, a Southern state in the United States. It is believed to have been developed by West African slaves who settled in the city of New Orleans in Louisiana years ago!
Gumbo is also said to have been influenced by French settlers in New Orleans. So this is food fusion at its best! Just like Jamaican Jerk chicken, this is a meal that tells a lot about the history of black people.
Gumbo literally means okra. In Cameroon, the French-speaking call okra soup Gumbo. That's why the main ingredient in Gumbo, is okra.
However, over the years the way the dish is made has evolved and some people make it this day without okra, using gumbo file instead.
Gumbo file is a powder made out of ground sassafras leaves and if you can't find it in a store near you, you could purchase it on Amazon.
Ingredients for Seafood Gumbo
1. The holy trinity: Onions, bell pepper, and celery are often referred to as the holy trinity of Cajun/Creole cooking.
2. Shrimp: Big shrimp are preferable because they stand out and make the Seafood Gumbo enticing. Also, get wild-caught shrimp if you can because they taste way better than farm-raised!
3. Crab legs: I used snow crab legs!
4. Andouille Sausage: For an authentic Creole flavor and for meatiness, use andouille sausage but if you can't find Andouille sausage then use any other smoked sausage. Kielbasa is a great option.
5. Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they are so flavorful and they provide meatiness to the gumbo.
6. Gumbo file: This is a powder made out of ground sassafras leaves and can be found on Amazon or in grocery stores. You can use okra instead of the file or use both.
7. Okra: You could use either frozen or fresh sliced okra in Gumbo.
8. Garlic: Lots of it is needed because garlic lends great flavor.
9. Creole seasoning: You need creole seasoning for that authentic Creole taste.
10. Bay leaves: Simmering bay leaves in gumbo adds lots of flavor!
11. Chicken broth: I used regular chicken broth here so I didn't add any salt. If you use low-sodium chicken broth be sure to add salt to your dish as needed.
How To Make Seafood Gumbo
Here are the steps for making Seafood Gumbo together with images showing the process. Follow these steps for a really tasty stew!
Step 1: Dice the onions, celery, and bell peppers then set aside.
Step 2: Heat up oil in a cast iron pot then add flour and stir consistently to make a roux.
Expert tip: Making a roux takes time and requires patience. The flour will start off white, turn a pale brown then eventually become dark like chocolate. This process takes about 20 minutes so do not rush it.
Step 3: Saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper. This builds the flavor base for the stew.
Step 4: Saute the garlic then add the chicken broth, sausage, bay leaves, chicken sausage, black pepper, and creole seasoning. Let everything simmer for several minutes.
Step 5: Add the seafood and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Step 6: Add the okra and/or gumbo file and let it simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Step 7: Serve warm with boiled rice, grits, French bread, or any side of your choice.
Seafood gumbo contains shrimp, crab, chicken, andouille sausage, and other standard gumbo ingredients like bell peppers, onions, and celery
(also called the holy trinity).
The roux is what makes gumbo. A roux for gumbo is made by combining equal parts of flour and oil and cooking them together slowly until the flour gradually changes from white to a dark brown color reminiscent of chocolate.
Three common types of gumbo are chicken gumbo, seafood gumbo, and sausage gumbo.
Apart from rice, you could also serve gumbo with:
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Butter Rolls
- SWEET FRIED PLANTAINS
- EASY CORNBREAD RECIPE
- SWEET DINNER ROLLS RECIPE
More Hearty Stews and Soups To Try
Hope you enjoy this easy Seafood Gumbo recipe! If you make this recipe, consider leaving a comment or star rating below. I love hearing from you!
- 1 cup corn oil or other flavorless oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 8 garlic cloves minced
- 64 oz chicken broth I used 2 32oz boxes
- 3 bay leaves
- 12 oz Andouille sausage - chopped into 1 inch slices I used pork but you could use chicken or another type. Substitute with Kielbasa or other smoked sausage
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs (½ kg)
- 1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups sliced okra I used frozen okra
- 1 pound large shrimp (½ kg) peeled and deveined
- ½ pound crab legs
- Chopped green onions for garnishing
- Boiled rice for serving
Prepare the chicken.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then rub some oil on the foil.
- Cut chicken into about 1-inch pieces. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt (see Note 1) and 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning and mix well to ensure that the seasoning gets to every part of the chicken.
- Place the chicken on a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is golden brown.
Make the roux.
- Place oil in a dutch oven/cast iron pot and let it heat up on high heat for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the flour to the oil whisking as you add the flour. Continue whisking until there are no lumps. Keep the whisk aside then use a wooden spoon and continue stirring the flour. The mixture will turn from white to light brown, to peanut butter brown to chocolate brown. Once it is chocolate brown, proceed to the next step. It takes about 20 minutes to make the roux so don't rush it.
Saute the vegetables.
- To the pot, add the diced onion, celery and bell pepper. Keep stirring and let the vegetables cook until they sweat. About 5 minutes.
Make the gumbo.
- Add the minced garlic to the pot and stir for about 2 minutes. Then add all the chicken broth, the bay leaves, the chicken and the sausage. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
- To the pot, add the black pepper, shrimp, crab legs and Creole seasoning. Let them simmer together for about 20 minutes.
- Finally, add the sliced okra and let it simmer with the okra in for about 10 minutes. Taste to ensure that the seasoning is perfect. Note that I didn't add salt because my chicken broth was salty enough and made the dish sufficiently salty. If you use a low sodium chicken broth, be sure to adjust the salt as needed.
- Serve your Seafood Gumbo warm over boiled rice or with any side you like. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.
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Sonbela Fomuso says
yummy I will like to open a restaurant and be the cook so call ,me 240 595 5488 or 240 478 5798 email email@example.com
Gumbo is absolutely west African and only west African. Okra is native to west Africa and the Louisiana recipe for gumbo nearly mirrors that of west African gombo. It also has a lot in common with Caribbean giumbo that evolved completely separate from Louisiana gumbo. The same goes with Louisiana jambalaya and west African jollof rice. As a Louisiana native with roots stretching from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, thank you for giving homage to my ancestors, respecting the recipe and giving credit where it is due. Your dish looks completely authentic and absolutely beautiful!
Thank you so much for sharing, Skeewee. It's always amazing to see so much West African influence in Southern cuisine.
YoNea Cummings says
This gumbo looks fantastic!! It’s dark roux lends rich flavor to the gumbo .. Yes our west African ancestors contributed greatly to the creation of gumbo .. As did the French given instruction for the roux as blending flour and oil is a popular French technique.. This looks so delicious and I will try your recipe using Dungeness crab and adding tomatoes.. I wish you could ship me a bowl to Woodbridge Va lol .. Thanks for sharing!!
You're welcome, dear YoNea. Your sweet comment brightened my day.