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Seafood Gumbo

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 3 quarts.

Servings: six to eight.

If you can, buy fresh shrimp with the shells and heads intact. If not, just the shells can be used to make the stock.


  • 1-1/2 lb. medium shrimp (41 to 50 or 51 to 60 per lb.) or 2 lb. if using head-on shrimp
  • 2 cups chopped white onion (about 1 large onion; reserve the skin)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2 medium stalks; reserve the trimmings)
  • 1/4 cup plus 6 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb. fresh or pasteurized lump crabmeat (about 1-1/2 cups), picked over for shells, or 4 to 6 gumbo crabs (about 1 lb. total), thawed (see note at right)
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh shucked oysters (halved if large)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 8)
  • Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/4 cup hot cooked white rice per serving

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 370
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 150
  • Fat (g): 17
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 600
  • Carbohydrates (g): 32
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 24


Make the shrimp stock:

  • Remove the shrimp heads, if necessary. Peel and devein the shrimp and refrigerate the shrimp until needed. Combine the shrimp peels and heads and the reserved onion skin and celery trimmings in a 6- to 8-quart pot. Cover with 9 cups of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve. You should have about 2 quarts.

Prepare the okra:

  • In a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the okra in two batches until it becomes lightly browned on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes per batch (fry undisturbed for the first minute or two until browning begins and then stir once or twice to flip most pieces and brown evenly). With a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of okra to a plate or platter lined with a paper towel.

Make the roux:

  • Heat the remaining 6 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Once it’s hot, add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the roux reaches the color of caramel, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and stir until the roux deepens to a chocolate-brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp stock, okra, tomatoes, gumbo crabs (if using), thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Adjust the heat to medium-low or low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

Serve the gumbo:

  • Five minutes before serving, add the shrimp, fresh or pasteurized lump crabmeat (if using), oysters, and scallions. Add hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve in large soup bowls over 1/4 cup cooked rice per serving. Pass additional hot sauce at the table.

Make Ahead Tips

Store gumbo in the refrigerator for up to three days and then reheat gently before serving. As with many stews and braises, gumbo tastes better the second day. You can also freeze it for up to eight months. Simply transfer to freezer-safe containers.


Gumbo crabs are small blue crabs that have been cleaned and halved or quartered. They are served in the shell, and you pick out the meat as you eat the gumbo. They’re available frozen, usually in 1-pound packages. Ask your fishmonger to get you some if you can’t find them in your grocery. Fresh or pasteurized lump crabmeat is a reasonable alternative. Do not use shredded or imitation crabmeat.


Rate or Review

Reviews (7 reviews)

  • NIlleb | 08/02/2021

    Whoa Cowboy! (Not from Louisiana, can you tell?) This is outstanding! The directions are awesome. A Northerner can make it. It's just a delicious meal.

  • chefwannabe | 01/09/2016

    This was fairly simple and straightforward. I didn't think the roux was quite as rich as what I ate in New Orleans. I simmered the shrimp shells in clam juice for extra flavourful. I'm going to try a butter based roux recipe next time.

  • jakgren | 04/06/2012

    saw Poppy on Bobby Flay's "Throwdown". There are several things she did on that show that aren't written in this recipe. For instance, on TV, she puts 2 cloves of garlic in with the shrimp stock (not even in recipe). She also uses 2 bay leaves and appeared to put more tomatoes in than the recipe. A tablespoon of thyme is overkill - half that (or none) won't be so overpowering. 2 tsp of salt is one too much (you can always add). The roux must be almost burned and the onions chopped super fine (until juicy) to duplicate her "chocolate/caramel" technique. Compared to the wonderful gumbo I had in Alabama, Poppy's also seems a bit too thick (3/4 of her roux would be better). Raw blue gumbo crabs really take this dish to another level...don't think using alaskan king crab or whatever (or only shrimp) is going to impress anyone who's eaten authentic gulf coast gumbo.

  • mosker | 02/20/2012

    I have made this several times and it is always a winner. Just make sure you get the roux nice and dark and you won't go wrong with this one.

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