This recipe for seafood gumbo turned out pretty awesome and authentic according to my bf, whose half of his family is from Louisiana. I combined a few different recipes and added a little extra step that I’ve used before with jambalaya, and I think it made all the difference in the world. I’m pretty sure I’ll be having to make this quite often in the near future.
This gumbo was the perfect dish to really start to make it feel like summer. Spicy, delicious and surprisingly light.
I used cornstarch instead of flour to keep the recipe gluten-free, and then served it over rice with gluten-free cornbread. I was a bit skeptical about the cornbread at first because I just bought a frozen loaf from Whole Foods, but it was actually really good. Not cheap, but really good!
Anyways, on to the gumbo recipe!
Ingredients (serves 8-12):
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cornstarch
2 onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 lb. andouille or pork sausage
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 package sliced frozen okra
2 tbsp. creole seafood seasoning
2 tbsp. cayenne
6 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. white pepper
3 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut up
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. deveined shrimp
¼ cup green onions
1. So this is that first special step that really gives the gumbo a good depth of seafood flavor. Remove the shrimp shells (set the actual shrimp aside in the fridge for later) and place the shells into a saucepan with the chicken stock and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10-20 minutes. *Do this first so it’s simmering while you chop and prepare the other ingredients.
Tip: I found it best to get the EZ-Peel shrimp at the seafood counter that are already deviened but still have the shells.
2. Once you have everything ready to go, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot and almost smoking. Whisk in the cornstarch and stir constantly until the mixture turns a soft brown. This will take about 5-10 minutes and will change in color from white to yellow to brown. You’re basically lightly burning it and creating what’s called a roux.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the onions, bell peppers, and celery (aka the Holy Trinity in Cajun cuisine) and add ¾ of it to the pot. (You will add the rest a bit later.) Add the sausage & most of creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Cook until the onions are soft, stirring frequently (10-20 minutes).
4. Stir in the okra and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, the rest of the vegetables and all the rest of the seasonings (i.e. thyme, white pepper, bay leaves and remaining creole & cayenne, as well as salt and pepper).
5. Add the shrimp infused stock & bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
6. Add in the chicken and diced tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 hours (the longer, the better).
Tip: Remove excess fat and possible scum using a large spoon to gently skim the top of the gumbo. You’ll be able to see a clear difference between the oil/fat on top and the gumbo underneath, and just pour the fats into a little bowl or something; it’s just going to be thrown away. This process takes about 10 minutes and I got about a good ¼ cup of oil off. I typically clean all of my soups like this and I actually find it kind of therapeutic : )
7. At this point, if it is not thick enough, combine about 2 tbsp. of cornstarch to a cup of cold water. Stir to dissolve completely, then add it to the gumbo and stir to thicken.
8. 10-15 minutes before serving, add the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce and green onions, then continue to simmer until ready to serve.
(That small bowl on the side is where I put the oil I skimmed off the top before thickening the gumbo and adding the shrimp.)
9. Taste it and add a bit more of any seasoning that you feel it could use more of! I usually always add more of everything : )
Serve with steamed rice & cornbread.
The gumbo just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge for a couple days. This made enough for the two of us to eat 3 times, plus I also froze a good portion (about 4 servings) for later.
If you end up trying out this recipe I’d really love to hear how it turned out so please let me know in the comments section below!