Thursday, January 1, 2009

Seafood and Okra Gumbo with Shrimp, Crab and Oysters

A seafood gumbo made with a dark roux, a rich shrimp stock, the Trinity of vegetables, tomatoes, andouille and shrimp, crab and oysters.
A seafood gumbo made with a dark roux, a rich shrimp stock, the Trinity of vegetables, tomatoes, andouille and shrimp, crab and oysters.

Seafood and Okra Gumbo


 Seafood gumbo, made with shrimp, lots of crab, and usually oysters is definitely a Deep South tradition for Christmas. Mama always made her seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve and that was a tradition at our house. We had this yesterday (and of course it only gets better the day after) and oh my gosh... this is so dang good (if I don't say so myself), I can't begin to tell y'all!

Don't get me wrong... we eat plenty of gumbo around here - and plenty of that is shrimp gumbo.

But seafood gumbo - meaning one that contains not only shrimp, but oysters and crab too (not chicken!), generally only shows up either at special Sunday Suppers, big events like the Super Bowl, or major holidays like Christmas or New Year's.

Even here right on the Gulf of Mexico where crabs are plentiful, buying good lump crab at the store already picked, cleaned and steamed is not a cheap venture, and oysters depend on just how the season went. The oysters I used were fresh right out of the Gulf of Mexico and shucked by my paw-in-law himself... so good.

Yes, I know. I am such a blessed gal. Let's make some gumbo!

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning: First, I do want to say one thing about roux, that I've repeated on all of my gumbo posts. Roux can be brought anywhere from very blonde, to light tan for gravies, to peanut butter colored, or more ruddy, like a copper penny, to chocolaty brown, to deep brown, to nearly black - or anywhere in between.

Bottom line is that it's really a personal preference and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. A gumbo roux does not have to be nearly black. That's just simply not true. While some chefs may do that, I don't know many who do that in a home kitchen.
  • For one, it weakens the thickening power of your roux substantially and makes for a very thin gumbo.
  • For another, it's very robust and very strong flavored.
  • For another, it can take a very long time and is easy to burn if you try to rush it with high heat.
If you like that kind of bold (or if you're cooking something like wild duck), by all means, take it super dark. Most folks I know don't want that flavor for a simple chicken or seafood gumbo and take the roux anywhere from peanut butter colored to a slightly darker brown.

While we are here let me add, if you're gonna put crab in your seafood gumbo, and you want to call it authentic to the Gulf Coast region, it's blue crab. Not snow crab. And not lobster either.

As always with any gumbo, as delicious as it is day 1, it's even better the next day, so make it ahead whenever you can.


For more of my favorite gumbo recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!



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Posted by on January 1, 2009

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