New Orleans Seafood File Gumbo
As a New Orleanian, I take pride in gumbo. The herbs, spices, chicken, shrimp, ham, tasso, sausage, crab, okra, stock, hot sausage, roux and of course the aroma. All of these are key elements to an amazing gumbo. I want you to be able to make a pot that tastes as it does in various homes in New Orleans.
Just because I take pride in my gumbo does not mean everybody else does. Over the years I have seen some pretty blasphemous ingredients added to gumbo. Some things are not supposed to be added to gumbo, no matter what. If you are guilty of adding these ingredients, it’s not your fault. You did not have a friend like me to tell you, “Babby, that don’t go in there.”
3. Eggs of any kind
4. Whole Crawfish
8. Boudin (a sausage that mixed with rice)
9. Browning ingredients (kitchen bouquet)
11. Hot dogs
The items listed above is the exact reason my grandmother always says, “Their gumbo looks like dishwater. That’s why I don’t eat from everybody.”
Allowed Ingredients (You can substitute ingredients due to local availability):
4. Sausage (Smoked, Andouille, Polish, Hot Sausage etc.)
6. Tasso (seasoned smoked ham or turkey)
7. Crab (blue crabs or smaller crabs work best)
8. File( ground sassafras, used as a thickening agent. If you use too much it will create a slimy consistency. In my family we added it at the dinner table.)
9. Bay leaves
The items listed above is the exact reason I was blessed by my grandmother to take over for with making gumbo for the family every year.
Let’s cover some FAQ’s about gumbo.
Yes, you can make a gumbo that does not have seafood in it.
Yes, a “poor man’s” gumbo is chicken and sausage.
Yes, you can add okra to any of your gumbos.
Yes, you can have gumbo that does not have okra in it.
Yes, okra means gumbo.
No, I do not recommend making a gumbo with all the allowed ingredients listed above in one pot.
No, a properly dark brown roux does not have to take 45 minutes.
Yes, you can toast your flour on the stove in a dry skillet or in the oven to make it healthier and still get the right color.
No, I have not made a gumbo with a gluten free flour but I believe potato flour would work best.
Yes, okra is a thickening agent. I do not make a roux when making okra gumbo for this reason. Although some people do.
Everybody makes gumbo a little different but the main ingredients and color keep it Louisiana approved to justify calling a pot of gumbo, gumbo.
New Orleans Seafood File Gumbo
- ½ cup canola oil ¼ cup reserve
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 12 cups seafood stock
- 1 lb. sausage sliced
- 6 crabs halved
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 lbs. shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1-2 cups brown rice cooked
- file powder optional
- In a heavy bottom 5 qt. pot, over medium high heat add oil, bring oil to a smoke point, you will see a faint white smoke coming off oil, (a thicker smoke will burn the flour, remove from heat and let cool for 3 minutes) add flour and whisk, you want a dark chocolate colored roux, if roux is browning to fast remove off heat while stirring and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Once roux is dark chocolate add onion, bell pepper and celery, stirring for 2-3 minutes, add garlic, bay leaf and cayenne. Turn heat up to medium-high heat, add stock in thirds, add sausage, crab, thyme and worcestershire.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour uncovered; skim any fat that rises to the top. Taste gumbo and add salt and pepper to taste, add shrimp. Let sit for 10 minutes for shrimp to cook. Serve hot with rice.