This Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe is a delectable Louisiana creole seafood dish made with crabs, lobster, shrimp, andouille sausage, a mixture of vegetables called Holy Trinity in a flavorful roux seasoned with herbs and spices.
Don’t get confused with creole or Cajun gumbo. Just like me, I’ve used these terms interchangeably. But there is a difference. One common thing they share, both are native to Louisiana.
This is a creole gumbo flavored with Cajun seasoning. The ingredients in creole and Cajun seasoning are very similar, so it is a matter of preference and it is just practical to use what you have.
If you are not too keen on something spicy, gumbo is not hot at all. I shouldn’t say that coz I love anything spicy. That being said, I have a high tolerance for anything with a kick.
You can always reduce the amount of cayenne pepper, if you think ½ a teaspoon sounds too much for your taste.
When I was younger, once in a while I try to cook something I like that intrigues me. The first time I made Gumbo was from a recipe I found in a cookbook. My parents when they visited, they were with me for quite some time.
Me and my mom frequented the library so she can borrow cookbooks. My mom loves collecting recipes. One habit my mom does that drove me crazy was she wrote recipes on whatever piece of paper or napkin she finds.
Once they go back home to the Philippines, it was a chore and I felt guilty if I threw it away. So I put everything away in her drawer. Even if I provided her with a notebook, I still found recipes everywhere.
Over the years, my Seafood Gumbo recipe has evolved. With easy access to the internet and I see an appetizing picture then I check the recipe. My initial gumbo recipe had a slight makeover.
My original recipe had a long list of ingredients, it still does. During the early days, you have to buy the herbs and spices separately. Now, you can buy a blend of seasoning like Creole or Cajun seasoning.
This is one reason why some people refrain from cooking. If you don’t regularly cook, it is not practical to buy all these ingredients that will only sit in your cabinet until they expire.
When I was working, it was easier to buy food during the week and cook our favorite food during the weekend. Honestly, it has been only the last 3 or 4 years that I’ve been cooking regularly. If my mom was here, she did all the cooking until she developed dementia.
Some herbs and spices in my cabinet were just recently acquired. Before the creation of my food blog, there’s no way you will find all these seasonings in my cabinet.
Anyway, when making Gumbo you can use a seasoning blend instead of buying each individual spices and herbs.
If you have all the individual ingredients there’s no need to get a creole or Cajun seasoning blend.
As much as I love Gumbo, Louisiana Shrimp and Crab Boil, Jambalaya, Beignet and anything Cajun, I have yet to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
Is this a Creole Seafood Gumbo or Cajun Seafood Gumbo?
Again, we interchangeably use the term creole and Cajun, often times without realizing there’s a difference between the two. In restaurants menu, it is seldom that you will find these terms in their menu.
One difference between creole and Cajun, creole uses tomatoes or tomato-based sauces while Cajun doesn’t. The second difference are the spices and herbs used. They have similar ingredients but there are some spices and herbs that will differentiate them. Either or they are both delicious.
Some restaurants might refer to it as Cajun but if they have tomatoes it is actually creole. Does the term really matter? Not to me, as long as they are delectable, they can use what ever term pleases them!
Note: When using seasoning blends, taste your sauce before adding salt. Seasoning blends has salt as one of the ingredients and are quite salty already.
Just for comparison, check out the ingredients in Creole and Cajun seasoning.
Creole Blend Ingredients
These are the ingredients in Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Creole Seasoning.
Salt, Spices like Chili Pepper, Red Pepper, and Paprika, Garlic, Sugar, Onion, Paprika and other Natural Flavor.
Cajun Blend Ingredients
These are the ingredients from McCormick Gourmet Cajun Seasoning.
Garlic, Spices like Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano and Chili Pepper, Sea Salt, Onion, Paprika and Red and Green Bell Peppers.
When to Serve Gumbo
You can serve this gumbo right after cooking but it is more flavorful and tastier the following day especially Seafood Gumbo. I find it best after a day. The sauce has been well infused by all the delicious blend of spices and herbs.
I know it is hard to wait another day to devour these delectable dish. My suggestion, make extra servings so you can save half for the next day and you’ll know what I am talking about.
Tips in Making Gumbo Roux
Roux is the combination of butter or oil and flour use to thicken sauce. Gumbo is traditionally made with a darker roux. The darker the roux, the flavorsome it gets.
The roux color started changing 30 minutes into cooking. It turned deeper in color as I continued to stir for another 15 minutes.
Roux can easily burn and it is best to use a pot with a heavy bottom like a Dutch oven. Cook at low heat, stirring constantly until roux changes in color.
I have made Instant Pot Gumbo and it was harder to get a darker roux as I am not able to control the temperature unlike stove top. Also, instant pot is not necessary when cooking seafood gumbo.
Tips in Making Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe
The base of this gumbo recipe is what Louisiana calls the “Holy Trinity”. It is equal parts of chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Holy Trinity is the counterpart of Mirepoix which uses chopped onion, celery and carrots used as base in making dishes like Cioppino.
Traditional gumbo uses okra, roux and file powder to thicken sauce. However, you can use either one. When I was at the store, the okra had dark spots plus I was not planning to make it right away. So I decided not to add okra plus no one in my household care much for okra when slimy.
When cooking the roux, cook low and slow. Heat should be low since it can easily burn. In case it burns, please make another batch of roux. There’s no work around for a burnt roux.
If you are cooking unpeeled seafood, you can get by adding just water instead of stock. The seafood skin will add flavor to your sauce otherwise try to use shrimp broth or clam juice. I used one bottle of Bar Harbor’s clam juice and water plus the crab and lobster shells were intact.
Don’t add the water all at once. Leave a cup on the side. If you like the current consistency then discard the leftover water otherwise add more water if sauce is too thick.
Cook the sauce low and slow for about 50 minutes then taste if it needs more seasoning before adding the seafood. Do not overcook the seafood as it will turn rubbery.
The Dungeness crab was bought cooked while both shrimp and lobster were raw. I added the lobster first then 2 minutes later I added the cooked crabs, after 3 minutes I added the shrimp and continued cooking for another 3 minutes.
How to Make Creole Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe
- 1 Dungeness Crab cooked
- 3 lobster tail crack top
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 1 large green bell pepper deseeded and diced
- 2 cups andouille sausage sliced into rounds
- 4 strips bacon slice into thin strips
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup scallions chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 can 14.5 oz Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon New Orleans Cajun
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 1 8 oz Bar Harbor clam juice shrimp or vegetable stock optional
- 4 cups water (can add 1 more cup if not using stock)
- ½ cup poblano peppers diced - optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- The Dungeness crab was bought cooked at Costco. Pull open the crab cover. If you like, you can scrap out the yellow stuff called crab mustard and add it in the gumbo sauce otherwise just discard it. Remove and discard the crab lungs and apron. If you don’t like traces of the crab mustard, wash the crab. Cut crab into 4 pieces with legs attached. You can pull out the two main legs if you like.
- If crab is not cook, wash and clean the crab. In a pot, add 4 cups of water, submerge crab and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to medium heat and simmer until crab turns red. Turn off heat, remove crab to cool and reserve stock. When crab is cool to touch, do the above instructions.
- In a skillet over medium heat, saute bacon until cook then move to one side of skillet. Add andouille sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Push to the side.
- Saute onion for 2 minutes, then garlic for 2 minutes and add celery, green peppers and poblano peppers. Turn off heat. Transfer mixture in a container if you like and use the same skillet to make the roux. Note: If possible use something with a heavy bottom when making the roux since it can easily burn. I am using a Dutch oven.
- In a slightly heated skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt butter. When melted, add ¼ cup flour stirring constant until combined. Add ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup flour and continue stirring. This is called the roux. Keep whisking constantly until color turns to brown. This mixture can easily burn so make sure to keep stirring and lower the heat if you need to. It will start changing color around 30 minutes after cooking. Continue stirring for another 15 minutes, roux will have a deeper color.
- When roux turns brown, pour clam juice, 3 cups water and fire roasted tomatoes. Combine well then add seasonings: cayenne pepper, ground thyme, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, ground pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture, lower heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. Cover skillet, cook sauce at low heat and simmer.
- Before adding seafood, taste sauce to see if you need to add salt, cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper for a spicier sauce. Stir in scallions and parsley. If you like the sauce consistency don’t add the remaining 1 cup water or stock. If sauce is too thick, add the remaining water or stock. Then, add the lobster tail and cook for 2 minutes, add the pieces of crabs and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir-in shrimp cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until pink. Turn off heat.
- Serve with rice. Have a side of hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper. If desired, have file powder available too.
- This seafood gumbo is much tastier the following day.
- Crack the top of lobster tail with a knife or scissors for easy access to meat. If you like, pull out the lobster meat. Refer to image in the blog.
- If you cooked the crab, use the crab stock instead of adding water in the sauce. You can also use shrimp stock or clam juice.
- If you skipped the blog, read the TIPS.