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Cajun Seafood Gumbo

The very first spoonful of this soul-satisfying brew is the essence of the fall season in Cajun country. With bold flavors of Louisiana seafood (oysters, shrimp, and crab) harvested from nearby Gulf waters and crawfish from inland ponds, it is further intensified with dark roux, smoked sausage, and Cajun spice. It’s gumbo time!

bowl of Cajun seafood gumbo

Quality Louisiana seafood and a dark Cajun roux is essential for this Seafood Gumbo. (Photo credit: George Graham)

One sign of the change of seasons is that the Cajun gumbo pots appear at the first hint of a drop in temperature.  My black iron is always ready to come out of hibernation, and with my seafood gumbo mission, I headed straight to the Louisiana Direct Seafood website to find the highest quality seafood available.  As shrimp season is nearing an end, you can also find all the frozen items needed at Louisiana Direct Seafood Shop, as well as locally in the Acadiana area from five retail outlets: The Market at Broussard Commons in Broussard, Gonsoulin Farm Store in Loreauville, Bi-Lo Supermarket in New Iberia, Don’s Specialty Meats in Scott, or Boudreaux’s Southern Seafood in Broussard. Give these retailers a call in advance, and they’ll have your order waiting.

variety of packaged seafood products

Quality Louisiana seafood and a dark Cajun roux is essential for this Seafood Gumbo. (Photo credit: George Graham)

This not-for-profit program of Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter is my go-to source for connecting with fishermen across the region. As an online portal for discovering all the seafood available to home cooks and wholesale buyers, the website is a searchable clearinghouse of up-to-date information for finding the freshest catch. As fishermen bring their seafood haul to port, this website lets you know how, when, and where to find it.

From Dulac to Grand Chenier and all along the coast of South Louisiana, fishermen, harvesters, and processors make their living off the waters of the Gulf.  These families have weathered nature’s fury and man-made disasters of all kinds but have remained resilient.  I’ve gotten to know many of these families, and I can tell you that they are truly dedicated to the mission of preserving a way of life that is a time-honored tradition in Louisiana.

Supporting our local fishing industry by buying local is an obligation that I feel deeply about.  It irks me to no end when I see Louisiana cooks, even restaurants, buying overseas imports.  For the sake of a few dollars, they lose sight of the economic impact their purchase has on the rich heritage and tradition of our seafood culture. Like me, I hope you buy local whenever possible.

gumbo ingredients like celery, onion, and rice on cutting board

Fresh ingredients and dark roux define a Cajun gumbo. (Photo credit: George Graham)

All Louisiana gumbo variations are delicious, but there are stark differences in the recipes for rural Cajun gumbo and citified New Orleans Creole gumbo. This recipe is for a traditional Cajun seafood gumbo—dark, smoky, and intense with seafood flavor. You will never see tomatoes in a Cajun seafood gumbo, while crawfish tail meat frequently finds its way into the pot.

For old-school Cajun cooks, a dark roux defines this dish. Stirring flour and oil for an hour until it magically transforms into a flavorful, chocolate-colored roux is a time-honored tradition. To make it easier, we are using our Rox’s Roux—the deepest, darkest, richest roux—in a 16-ounce jar that we sell online in our Acadiana Table Store. Rox’s Roux is available in many Lafayette area retail markets and is proud to be a Certified Louisiana product.

closer up photo bowl of dark roux of seafood gumbo

Each spoonful digs deeper into the essence of what it means to be Cajun. (Photo credit: George Graham)

After one bowlful of this seafood gumbo, you’ll understand what makes it special. It’s the hands of the Louisiana fishermen that harvested all these shrimp, crab, oysters, and crawfish. I can assure you will taste the quality and the love.  This is Cajun cooking at its best.

Watch the step-by-step instructions in our video and let Roxanne, Lo, and I show you how to make this Cajun Seafood Gumbo. And then follow the details in our recipe to discover how easy it is to make this delicious Louisiana classic.

This recipe is from George Graham of Acadiana Table, and is part of a Boat-To-Table series of stories, recipes, and information about our seafood industry is brought to you in support of Louisiana Direct Seafood, a free program of Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter.

Recipe by: George Graham
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced green onion tops
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cups sliced smoked pork sausage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3 quarts seafood stock
  • 1 cup dark Cajun roux, such as Rox’s Roux
  • 4 gumbo crabs
  • 1 dozen raw Louisiana oysters
  • 2 pounds (21 – 25-count) Gulf shrimp
  • 1 pound Gulf crabmeat (claw or white lump)
  • 1 pound Louisiana crawfish tail meat
  • 6 cups cooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
  1. In a cast-iron pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, green onion tops, parsley, and sausage for 5 minutes. Add all the spices and hot sauce. Add the seafood stock, roux, and gumbo crabs. Close the lid and lower the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 1 hour.
  2. Uncover and skim any oil or foam from the surface of the gumbo. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the remaining seafood. Cover and let cook at a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Ladle the gumbo in bowls over cooked Louisiana white rice. Serve with gumbo filé and hot sauce on the side along with diced green onion tops and lots of hot French bread.
Some folks like to add okra to their seafood gumbo, but I prefer to make it the co-star of my recipe for Shrimp and Okra gumbo. Gumbo crabs (small cleaned crabs used for flavor) are sold frozen in most Louisiana seafood markets or online. We’re using Rox’s Roux (buy it online on our website), but feel free to make yours from scratch with this recipe for Cajun roux.
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