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Best Ever Seafood Gumbo

- Photo: Cedric Angeles; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Photo: Cedric Angeles; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

The genius of this menu is that most of the work can be done ahead of time

Hands-on time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Yields: Makes about 5 qt.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat

3 pounds medium-size raw shrimp (with heads)

Pinch of kosher salt

6 tablespoons oil, divided

2 pounds frozen sliced okra, thawed*

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups finely chopped yellow onion

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped green onions, divided

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 (14.5-oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped, liquid reserved

1 pt. oysters (between 2 dozen and 3 dozen)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Hot cooked long-grain rice

How to Make It

Pick crabmeat, removing any bits of shell.

Remove shrimp shells and heads. Cover and refrigerate shrimp, and place shells and heads in a large stockpot. Add 8 cups water and a generous pinch of salt, and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour. Cool 30 minutes; pour stock through a fine wire-mesh strainer, and reserve for use in Step Discard shells and heads.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, and add okra. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and sauté 10 minutes. Set aside okra, and wipe out skillet. Heat another tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté andouille about 8 minutes or until brown. Set aside.

Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until roux is a medium-to-dark brown. Add yellow onions, celery, and bell pepper, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and 1/2 cup green onions, and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in tomato paste and next 7 ingredients. Stir in tomatoes and 1/3 cup of their liquid; gradually stir in shrimp stock. Add reserved sausage and okra. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and remaining green onions, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, oysters, and parsley, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt, if desired. Serve over rice.

* Fresh okra may be substituted for frozen.

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