Shrimp Gumbo

This spicy Cajun gumbo, a stew originating in Louisiana in the 18th century, gains much of its flavor from the dark roux and its characteristic[ thickness from file, an herb made from the ground leaves of the sassafras tree. Onions, celery and green peppers, the "holy trinity" of both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the thick shrimp and sausage stew, which is served over a heaping portion of white rice.]

Total Time:
3 hr 30 min
1 hr
2 hr 30 min

6 servings

  • 4 ounces vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds raw, whole, head-on medium-sized (31-50 count) shrimp
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and browned
  • 1 tablespoon file powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.

While the roux is baking, de-head, peel and devein the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a bowl and set in the refrigerator. Place the heads and shells in a 4-quart saucepan along with the 2 quarts of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until the liquid has reduced to 1-quart. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a container, discarding the solids.

Once the roux is done, carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Gently add the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic and cook, moving constantly for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Gradually add the shrimp broth while whisking continually. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp and sausage and stir to combine. Add the file powder while stirring constantly. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve over rice.

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4.5 192
This is truly a 5-star recipe.  Take the time to cook the roux in the oven.  Deep flavor by using shrimp stock.  Add additional cayenne or Tabasco if you like really spicy food.  <br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great flavor!  A definite keeper!  Happy fat Tuesday. :-)<br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
YUM!!! I was surprised how good this recipe turned out!! I used 12 oz package of crawfish tails and about 1/2 lbs of shrimp. Other than that, I followed the recipe as is. I did have a bit of trouble finding file powder. Walmart didn't have it, but Tom Thumb did. If you can't find it, the recipe is plenty thickened without it, and tasted great before I added it at the end! So I think it would still be great without it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Sounds like a great gumbo recipe, but where is the okra?! Every great Louisiana gumbo I have ever had, always has okra in it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
So I made a double batch because some wanted heat and others didn't. I was able to make the shrimp stock but it didn't have enough body because I couldn't find shrimp that weren't deheaded so I used 1/2 Shrimp/1/2 chicken stock. Cooked it as one double batch and then split just before I added the protein and file powder. The mild batch had chicken, shrimp and smoked sausage. The spicier version had shrimp and andouille plus a little extra cayenne and I had the hot-sauce out for anyone that wanted to kick it up another notch. Great recipe that I will be using for years. Our guests and my kids loved the variations. My daughter even took leftovers to school for lunch today. Thanks Alton. You rock! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious! The roux is always the hardest part of this type of dish. The oven trick worked well, but we were in a crunch for time and finished the brown to dark brown/red on the stove top. Still it saved a lot of time. We used canned seafood stock bc time was of the essence and it worked fine. I even found File at our local Safeway. It was a Zataran's product. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Unfortunately, I ordered my file powder too late and I had to resort to frozen okra. Okra's nice and has its place, but it made it too slimy for me and it distracted from the rest of the recipe. I think the recipe itself could stand a few additions though I'd be hard-pressed to pinpoint them. Maybe a pound of chicken? Maybe some more sausage? I don't know. It was still really good though. item not reviewed by moderator and published
As usual, another fantastic recipe from A. B. ice dark doux and the oven-baking roux technique worked like a charm. A little kick, but not too much. I used a little extra file and it came out nicely thickened. Loved it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Like everyone said, bland but delicious. You'll have to add your own seasoning to get it to your liking but the recipe is very flexible! I didn't even measure all the ingredients. I added frozen okra but didn't add the file powder. I used chicken stock instead of shrimp stock. Also, watch the video before you cook this. AB cooked the sausages before adding it to his pot, which brought out additional flavors. The one take away from this recipe is that this is the best way to make roux. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first try at gumbo, and it may be the tastiest thing I've ever cooked. That aroma that fills the house when you add the aromatics to the roux... incredible. I now add a pint of fresh chopped clams (with liquor) and 2 tbsp Sriracha to Alton's recipe, and it's even better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Oh, one other thing, I did use boxed seafood stock instead of making my own and it was great! item not reviewed by moderator and published

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