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Culinary Guides

Basic Seafood Gumbo

This seafood gumbo is made with a variety of shellfish along with a classic roux, herbs, okra, and vegetables.


  •     3 quarts water
  •     2 bay leaves
  •     1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •     1 small onion, cut into wedges
  •     Salt, to taste
  •     Ground black pepper, to taste
  •     2 pounds shrimp, in shells
  •     1 1/2 cups crabmeat
  •     1 teaspoon parsley, or to taste
  •     2 pounds okra, sliced
  •     4 tablespoons bacon grease, butter or duck fat, divided
  •     4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  •     2 medium onions, finely chopped
  •     2 green peppers, finely chopped
  •     1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  •     4 tablespoons brown roux (see recipes, below)
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
  •     1 cup rice cooked, optional for serving
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground dried thyme, optional
  •     1/4 teaspoon dried parsley, optional


  1. In a large Dutch oven bring to a boil the water with bay leaves, lemon juice, onion wedges, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  2. Wash shrimp and add it (unpeeled) to stock; boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Peel shrimp. Return shells to the stock in the Dutch oven and set aside for later use.
  4. Put shrimp and crabmeat in the refrigerator for the time being.
  5. Sauté the sliced okra in 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan.
  6. When okra is soft, transfer to a stew pot and add the tomatoes. Stir well.
  7. Clean skillet and heat remaining 2 tablespoons bacon grease, butter, or duck fat. Sauté the chopped onions, green peppers, and red pepper until softened; add to the stew pot with the tomatoes and okra.
  8. In a saucepan, warm the roux; strain the reserved shrimp stock and stir about 2 quarts of the stock into the roux.
  9. When well blended, add to the large stew pot with the other ingredients.
  10. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding more strained stock if needed.
  11. Taste and add salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley to taste. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours longer; add the reserved shrimp and crabmeat and cook for 15 minutes longer.
  12. Serve with hot boiled rice, if desired.
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