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Gumbo 1

3 - 4 servings
Prep info
5 min prep + 1.5 hr bake & 1 hr prep & 1 hr simmer & 30 min prep + 10 min cook + 35 min simmer + 10 min sit
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
3 hours
Time required
3 hours
Oven preheat
Mains - Misc
alton brown Cajun seafood


  • 57 g vegetable oil
  • 57 g Flour (Plain)
  • 341 g shrimp (raw, whole, head-on, medium-sized (31-50 count))
  • 4 c water
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1/4 c diced celery
  • 1/4 c diced green pepper
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1/4 c chopped tomato (peeled & seeded, or canned)
  • 1/2 T Salt (Sea) (or sea salt)
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t finely chopped thyme (fresh)
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 113 g smoked sausage
  • 100 g crawfish tails
  • 1 c rice
  • 1/2 T file powder


Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 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 de-vein the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a bowl and set in the refrigerator. Place the heads and shells in a saucepan along with the 4 cups 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 by half to 2 cups. 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.  

While that simmers, slice sausage into bite-sized pieces and brown. Set aside. Get rice ready to cook, and water boiling on stove. Just when timer goes off for the 35 minute simmer, start rice boiling.

Turn off the heat, add the shrimp, crawfish, 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 cooked rice.


SJ Note: This is one of our favorites, we've had it time and again.  It's a fair amount of work, but it's worth it - o so yummy.  We stretch it to four meals (two for each of us), usually freezing the second half (it freezes and reheats beautifully).  I'll generally get a pound of shrimp, actually, and make twice the requisite shrimp stock, freezing the rest for the next time we make it.  We'll toss all the shrimp meat in the gumbo that time - there's a lot less than you might think based on what you start with, so it's not too much in the end.

Anyhow, yes, this is an absolutely fabulous gumbo recipe!  And if you're in a bit of a hurry and have the shrimp stock made already, you can always make the roux on the stovetop.  It's just easier to let it bake while you do all the other stuff, and worry less about it burning.