Crab and Shrimp Gumbo with Okra

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My grandma gave me a famous Louisiana cookbook (if you are a Louisiana native, you know what I'm talking about) when I was a teenager. I watched her make famous-around-town gumbo so many times as a kid. I took the book's "second edition" recipe and what I learned from her and came up with my own hybrid of the two. My daughters have asked me for my recipe, so here is my best recollection of it.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 35 mins
8 servings


  • ½ cup canola oil

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 pound chopped okra

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 6 cups water, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon gumbo file powder, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's®), or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 bay leaves, or more to taste

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans lump crabmeat

  • 4 cups hot cooked rice


  1. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat until a pinch of flour sprinkled into the oil just begins to bubble. Whisk in the flour to form a thick paste the consistency of cake frosting. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the flour is very dark brown and the color of melted chocolate, about 45 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to low and add okra, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent and veggies are cooked, 6 to 8 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, cover, and bring to a simmer.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add okra and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and no longer stringy or slimy, about 10 minutes. Add to simmering roux mixture and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Add 6 cups water plus file powder, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves. Cook, uncovered, tasting a few times as it cooks to adjust spices and adding more water if necessary, until gumbo is as thick as you would like, at least 2 to 3 hours. The longer it cooks, the better.

  5. Stir in shrimp and crabmeat; cook for 15 more minutes. Ladle gumbo over hot rice in serving bowls.

Cook's Notes:

If your stove temperature is too high, the roux will cook too fast and burn. Do not walk away from the stove or stop whisking.

You can use fresh or frozen okra. One or two chopped fresh tomatoes can be used in place of canned tomatoes.

Don't cover the gumbo while cooking or it will not thicken.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

420 Calories
21g Fat
37g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 420
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 498mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 31mg 154%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 451mg 10%

* 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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