Seafood File Gumbo


This is a big recipe and a big time-consumer, but delicious! Serve gumbo over 1/3 cup cooked rice per serving in bowls.

close up view of Seafood File Gumbo garnished with fresh herbs in a bowl
Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
8 hrs 50 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 25 mins
8 servings


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 5 quarts water

  • 4 carrots, sliced

  • 4 onions, quartered

  • ½ bunch celery, sliced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • ½ tablespoon ground white pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 16 ounces crabmeat

  • 1 bay leaf, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup corn oil

  • 2 cups diced onion

  • 2 cups diced celery

  • 2 cups chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 3 tablespoons file powder

  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce

  • 1 pint shucked oysters


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  2. Shell and devein the shrimp, reserve the shells. Place the shrimp in a covered bowl and refrigerate. Place the shells on a cookie sheet, and bake until the shells are dried and starting to brown on the edges. Turn off the oven.

  3. Make the stock: In a 8 quart pot, put 5 quarts of water, 4 carrots, 4 onions, and celery. Add 2 bay leaves, sliced garlic, parsley, cloves, 1 teaspoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon dried basil and 2 teaspoons dried thyme. Add the shrimp shells. Bring the stock slowly to boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook 5 to 7 hours, replacing water as needed, 2 or 3 times, by pouring more water down side of pot.

  4. Remove stock from heat and strain. Press all liquid from the shells and vegetables, then discard them. Return liquid to heat and reduce stock to 2 to 3 quarts, or to your desired quantity (you will need 7 cups of this stock for this recipe). If clarity is desired, strain the stock through a cloth.

  5. In a small bowl, combine the ground red, white, and black peppers, paprika, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and salt and set aside.

  6. In a heavy pot, 5-quart or larger, heat oil over medium heat, warming the pot first. Add onions, celery and green pepper. Turn heat to high. Stirring frequently, add garlic, file, hot pepper sauce, and the pepper-herb mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce and stir as it reduces over high heat. Add 7 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  7. When ready to serve, add shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat. Cover and wait 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 10 minutes.


File powder is a seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It's an integral part of Creole cooking, and is used to thicken and flavor Gumbos and other Creole dishes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

418 Calories
24g Fat
24g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 418
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Sodium 951mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 61mg 304%
Calcium 224mg 17%
Iron 8mg 43%
Potassium 1102mg 23%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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