Tuesday, June 18, 2024

FOOD FOR THE SOUL: King Crab Gumbo

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Food


Chef Jeff

Seafood gumbo was always a favorite for my family during the fall and winter holidays. No matter what other traditional fare was available, this New Orleans soup, with saltine crackers, always made its way to the table.

When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, my grandfather bought most of the ingredients when they were on sale at the local market. He would freeze them until he had gotten everything needed to prepare the gumbo. If you choose to use them, the blue crab and hot links can be ordered directly from the Big Easy, where they can be packed in dry ice and delivered to your home.


Some folks prepare gumbo differently, depending on what part of the south they are from. It goes down at my house, with family and friends, on New Year’s Day. I put my own spin on this family tradition by adding king crab legs and chicken wings. It’s your choice, but remember: It’s all about the roux.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours.



Brown roux
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 ounces smoked beef sausages
1 pound beef hot links, sliced 1 inch thick
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 bay leaves
10 to 12 cups of water
1 to 2 tablespoons of filé powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound chicken wings, washed and cut in half
1 pound fresh or frozen okra, washed and sliced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and washed
2 pounds of frozen king crab legs, rinsed and cut into pieces
8 ounces cooked lump crabmeat

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and melt. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is brown, 15 to 20 minutes. This thickening agent should be added gradually until your soup reaches desired thickness. Start adding roux to the gumbo broth after it has reached a medium simmer.

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and hot links. Sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add water to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Add half the roux and 1 tablespoon filé powder. Simmer until the gumbo begins to thicken, 35 to 45 minutes.
3. Season the gumbo with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken, okra, and tomatoes and continue to simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. Adjust the thickness by adding more roux and filé powder. If the gumbo becomes too thick, add more water.
4. Add the shrimp and crab legs. Simmer until the shrimp becomes slightly pink and tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked crabmeat.
5. Serve with steamed rice.

Jeff Henderson is the author of New York Times best-seller “Cooked” (William Morrow) “Chef Jeff Cooks” (Simon & Schuster). For more info visit www.chefjeffhenderson.com.

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