This authentic Creole seafood gumbo recipe combines classic Louisiana ingredients for a simple and straightforward southern dish that you’re going to love.
Gumbo is one of those incredible Louisiana dishes that puts an exclamation mark on the Louisiana food scene. Not only is this one of the best things to eat in New Orleans, but this Creole seafood gumbo recipe is an easy and delicious meal that I absolutely love making at home.
This gumbo recipe is a dish that I learned to make while touring through New Orleans and it’s something that I make on the regular whenever I feel a longing for this magical city.
What Is Gumbo?
Gumbo is one of the most iconic Louisiana dishes. This popular stew is stock-based and is typically filled with a mouthwatering combination of sausage, seafood, and vegetables such as okra, celery, peppers, and onions. The stew usually has a base made with a dark roux and either okra or file powder (made with ground sassafras leaves.
There are two major styles of gumbo, Cajun gumbo, and Creole gumbo. Both are created in a very similar manner, but the main difference between Cajun and Creole gumbo is that Creole gumbo is made with tomatoes while Cajun gumbo doesn’t use tomatoes. Creole gumbo also tends to lean more heavily towards seafood than its Cajun counterpart.
Both methods combine ingredients and cooking styles that mirror the eclectic melting pot of cultures that makes up the largest city in Louisiana. Gumbo has it’s background in African, French, Spanish and from the Indigenous Choctaw Nation. In fact, the dish itself gains much of its heritage from both Chocktaw stew and French bouillabaisse.
In fact, the name “gumbo” likely comes from a merging of the western African name “ki ngombo” or “quingombo” which refers to one of the dish’s key ingredients, okra. As well as the Choctaw word for file, or ground sassafras leaves, which is “kombo”.
Gumbo was first popularized back in 1802 and by the mid 19th century was on its way to becoming synonymous with the Louisiana culinary scene.
The Best Creole Seafood Gumbo Recipe
Stirring a big pot of authentic Creole gumbo while some rich trumpet from Southen jazz pours out of the stereo is my idea of paradise. The rich smells of seafood gumbo just mesh perfectly with the sounds I remember hearing pouring out of the clubs as I’d stroll through the French Quarter.
Creole seafood gumbo might take a little bit of time to perfect, but this hearty stew gets better with each day and it makes for the perfect complement to a cold winter night spent by the fire. This Creole seafood gumbo recipe was found during one of my many New Orleans food tours. and I still love making it years later.
Tips For Making The Perfect Creole Gumbo
- If you’re short on time look for pre-cut veggies and meat. This makes cooking up a seafood gumbo less time consuming.
- Layer your cooking. Cooking a rich gumbo means that you’ll have a few things on the go at once. Cook your rice and meats at the same time so that you’re not waiting for things to finish. you can often have the rice cooking, the chicken cooking and the the veggies sauteeing all at the same time.
- Many recipes for seafood Creole gumbo call for clam juice. For an authentic dish, this is a no-no. You should use only seafood stock or chicken stock.
- Make sure that you use fresh shrimp. Don’t bother with pre-cooked shrimp, preferably those that hve been cleaned and had their shells and tails removed. This will help you better infuse that delicious taste into your dish.
- 1 lb chicken thighs (bone and skin on). Alternatively you can use chicken breasts for a lighter dish.
- 4 cups of white rice
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large yellow onion (chopped)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup celery (chopped)
- 1 large green bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 cups okra (sliced)
- 2 large Creole tomatoes (chopped). May use heirloom or canned organic tomatoes as an alternative.
- 7 cups of seafood or chicken stock
- 1 lb sausage (sliced). May use smoked sausage as an alternative.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning, (salt-free)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Ground white pepper (to taste)
- 1-2 lbs raw jumbo Gulf shrimp
- 1 bunch green onions (sliced)
- Hot Sauce (optional)
- Set your oven to broil. Season chicken thighs with Cajun seasoning. Cook chicken until it's cooked through and the skin is slightly crispy. Once cooked, remove the skin and set it aside.
- While the chicken is cooking add 4 cups of rice to a rice steamer and set to cook.
- Heat a Dutch Oven or large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tbsp of oil and then onions, celery, peppers, and minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened (approx. 7-8 minutes). Once cooked remove and set it aside.
- In the same pot over medium heat add 1/2 cup of oil. Once the oil is hot add the flour and stir the flour and oil mixture continuously until it achieves an amber color. This is the roux. Ensure not to burn the mixture.
- Add the stock to the Dutch Oven. Stir till the flour mixture is combined with the stock (approximately 2-3 minutes). Add the chicken meat, sausage, sauteed vegetables, sliced okra, tomatoes, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, dried thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook mixture, stirring regularly, for 50 minutes on low heat.
- Once cooked, remove the mixture from heat and add the shrimp. Stir mixture together and let sit until shrimp are cooked through (approximately 10 minutes).
- Serve your authentic Creole seafood gumbo over white rice. Add hot sauce to taste (optional).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 700Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 1860mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 44g
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