Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo
Yield: 4 main-side or 8 appetizer servings

Medium shrimp with heads and shells (see note) - 1 lb.
Seafood stock - 5 cups
Margarine (not butter) - 3/4 cup
Chopped onions - 2 cups
Chopped celery - 2 cups
Chopped green bell peppers - 2 cups
Gumbo filé (filé powder), optional -3 Tbsp.
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Pepper Sauce® - 1 Tbsp.
Minced garlic - 1 tsp.
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic® - 2 Tbsp.
Bay leaf, crumbled - 1
Canned tomato sauce - 1 1/4 cups
Packed crabmeat (picked over) - 1 1/2 cups (about 1/2 lb.)
Shucked oysters, optional - 1 dozen
Hot cooked rice (preferably converted) - 1 1/3 cups

  1. Peel the shrimp, rinse and drain well, and use the heads and shells to make the seafood stock; refrigerate shrimp until ready to use.
  2. In a 4-quart heavy soup pot, melt the margarine over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers. Turn heat to high and stir in the gumbo filé (if used), Magic Pepper Sauce, garlic, Seafood Magic and the bay leaf. Cook 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato sauce; continue cooking 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (During this time the mixture will begin sticking to the pan bottom. As it does so, continually scrape pan bottom well with a spoon. The scrapings not only add to the gumbo’s flavor, but also decrease the gumbo filé’s ability to thicken.) Add the stock and bring gumbo to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp, crabmeat and oysters (if desired); cover and turn off the heat. Leave the pot covered just until the seafood is poached, about 6 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
  3. For a main course, place about 1/3 cup of rice in each bowl and top with about 1 cup gumbo. For an appetizer, serve about half that amount.
    Note: If shrimp with heads and shells are not available, use ½ pound shrimp without heads, but with shells and substitute other seafood ingredients for the shrimp heads in making the seafood stock.

This sounds very good, but what is, and where do you get it, gumbo file’? Shouldn’t a gumbo have some okra in it? Just wondering…thanks and God bless you.


Gumbo file powder is (file powder) the powdered leaves of the sassafras tree; the powder also acts as a thickener when added to liquid -

You can make your own by washing your sassafras leaves, and hanging the branches upside down to dry in a shady area (sunlight would fade the leaves) for about a week; remove the leaves from the stems and crush by hand. Grind or process in batches using your blender or processor to a fine powder; sift to remove the larger pieces. Store airtight - it will last for a year - after that it will lose its flavor.

Many will serve the file powder at the table at serving time to sprinkle on your gumbo. File’ makes the gumbo thick if you let it set for awhile. Don’t add file’ to the gumbo during cooking or else it will make the gumbo thick and stringy. You can add a pinch to the pot at the very end of cooking to thicken the gumbo - but don’t add too much or add it too early while the gumbo is still boiling.

Okra - that is optional - you can add it to the recipe.

I hope this helped!