Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shrimp and Crab Gumbo

I was actually happy to finally have a rainy day. Perfect day to stay in my pajamas and try out this gumbo recipe. It's not hard, but you have to be patient. You gotta make your own stock, very slowly brown your roux and then let everything simmer for a few hours. When all was said and done, I had pretty much spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen. The end result is REALLY worth the time commitment. The flavors that develop during this lengthy process are fantastic. This gumbo is no joke and a definite crowd pleaser.

Shrimp and Crab Gumbo
Donald Link's recipe on

Below is the original recipe. I halved it and had plenty of food for dinner for two nights.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 gallon plus 2 cups clam juice (1 gallon = 16 cups)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
8 bay leaves


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil


1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons gumbo filé powder (you can find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Shelled and deveined shrimp (from the stock)
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Steamed rice, sliced scallions and Tabasco, for serving
  1. MAKE THE STOCK In a stockpot, heat the oil. Add the shrimp shells and cook over high heat, until starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to stick to the pot, 2 minutes. Add the clam juice, onion, celery, carrot and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for 25 minutes. Strain the stock into a heatproof bowl.
  2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE ROUX In a saucepan, whisk the flour with the oil to make a paste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the roux turns golden brown, 30 minutes. (A low-moderate heat. It should be a very light simmer.) Increase the heat to moderately high and cook, stirring, until the roux is dark brown, 10 minutes longer. Scrape the roux into a bowl and reserve. (BE CAREFUL WITH THIS! I know I have no business disagreeing with the great Donald Link, but I would recommend NOT turning the heat up too high at the end. You do not want to burn your roux. I preferred to take the extra time over moderate heat to get my roux where it needed to be slowly. I think it's safer that way.)
  3. MAKE THE GUMBO In the stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic, onion and celery; cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the roux and cook until bubbling. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until no floury taste remains; skim off the fat.
  4. In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the green pepper, okra, chile powder, paprika, filé, oregano, thyme, cayenne and white pepper. Season with salt and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in a ladleful of the liquid in the stockpot, scrape up the browned bits and transfer to the gumbo in the pot. Simmer, stirring, for 1 hour.
  5. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook, until just white throughout, 2 minutes. Stir in the crab; season with salt.
To serve, I made a little rice cake by packing some steamed rice into a small measuring cup. Place the rice cake in the center of a bowl and ladle the gumbo around it.

Sprinkle some more gumbo file powder on top and your favorite Louisiana hot sauce. I recently tried Chef Hans' hot sauce at my brother's house and I am officially in love with it.