When I say this Cajun-style gumbo is easy, I'm sincere. One of the moves in seafood gumbo making is browning flour to make a roux (the golden-brown-to-mahogany base), which colors, flavors, and helps to thicken the soup. For this easy gumbo recipe, making a roux is not necessary. All you need is one box of instant gumbo base and steamed blue crabs, dungeness crabs, and/or shrimp.
If your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter will steam your shellfish purchase (quite a few stores offer this service), then your gumbo will be even easier to prepare. Use pre-cooked, frozen crab or shrimp if your fishmonger does not offer a steaming service.
Sustainable Seafood Options
Adding dungeness crab, Florida or Gulf stone crab, U.S. farmed shrimp or Oregon pink shrimp, for example, are options for gumbo with sustainable seafood. Monterey Bay's "Seafood Watch" organization considers U.S. blue crabs a "Good Alternative" to sustainable seafood. There have been concerns about overfishing with blue crabs (among other concerns), but the species is reported to be rebounding in the Chesapeake Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Times Picayune.
Make this gumbo to celebrate National Soup Month (January), or make it for the spicy flavor. This is a great first-time gumbo for anyone new to making this wonderful amalgam of vegetables and seafood. Give it a try and surprise your family and friends with a steaming bowl of Cajun-style gumbo.
Easy, Weeknight Cajun-Style Gumbo (Makes approximately 4-6 servings)
(Note: I'm not claiming this as a recipe of mine, since it includes a packaged mix.)
1 box of instant gumbo base (such as Zatarain's, King Kooker's, or Tony Chachere's gumbo base)
1 15-ounce can whole, stewed tomatoes, unsalted
3-4 steamed, whole blue crabs, or 3-4 clusters dungeness crab legs, or 2 pounds large shrimp
1 bunch scallions, green parts chopped (for garnish)
- Refrigerate your steamed seafood while making the gumbo or thaw the seafood if it's frozen.
- Follow the package directions for making the gumbo.
- While gumbo is simmering, add the canned tomatoes.
- Add the cooked seafood a few minutes before serving--just enough time to warm the seafood.
- Garnish with chopped scallion
- Serve the gumbo over steamed rice, if desired.