Fresh Dungeness Crab Ordered Online Makes an Easy Winter Gumbo

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Dungeness crab gumbo is the perfect delicious, versatile, no-fuss dish for wintertime.

Image source: Flickr CC user Jason Lam

For these current, cold, wet and snowy winter days, there’s a gumbo recipe that is a favorite of mine. An added bonus is that it goes absolutely great with Dungeness crab, which just so happens to be in season right now.

Winter on the River Seafood Gumbo

I have yet to spend the winter in New Orleans, but I think if I did, it would make me feel like this seafood gumbo does—happy and warm. Now, the ideal meat for this dish is fresh Dungeness crab, but a perk of this recipe is that it lends itself well to substitutions, so if you’re not feeling the crab, you can choose another type of seafood you like.

In a large Dutch oven combine and bring to a boil:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 3 ounce package of crab boil (this is the kind that comes in a mesh sachet so the spices stay contained)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 pounds of fresh shrimp

After the shrimp has cooked for 3 to 5 minutes, remove and discard the lemons and the crab boil packet. Then remove the shrimp, peel and devein them, and chill. Reserve the boiling water.

Meanwhile, go ahead and cook a pound of bacon in another skillet. When it’s done, crumble the bacon, set it aside, and reserve the drippings. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour to the drippings in the skillet and cook it over medium high heat, stirring constantly until it has turned caramel in color. This is called the roux, and browning it should take about five minutes. If your stove tends to cook hot, lower the heat. Once the roux has browned slightly, stir in the following ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • The roux mixture
  • 1 pound of cooked, cubed ham
  • 2 pounds of fresh Dungeness crab meat
  • 3 pounds of fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 bay leaves

Cook these vegetables for a few minutes until tender, then add:

Bring all of this to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 1 hour and 50 minutes. When there is 10 minutes remaining on the timer, cook as much basmati rice as you like to eat with your gumbo. Then, stir in the chilled shrimp and crumbled bacon and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves, and serve the gumbo over the hot cooked basmati rice. This is gumbo, after all, so make sure you have hot sauce on hand.

Servings: 15

Time Saving Tips: This is a big recipe, yielding 15 decent-sized servings of gumbo. So go ahead and make this any night during the week of and save it in the freezer or fridge for later. Eat on it whenever you’re too stressed to cook anything else!

There are a few small places to save time along the way while making this recipe as well. The okra, for example, can be bought frozen so you don’t have to worry about finding fresh okra at the store, which can be a challenge this time of year

The main time-saving advantage here, though, is that there’s a solid 1 hour and 40 minutes of hands-off time while the gumbo simmers, which gives you plenty of time to relax with a glass of wine.

Additions: Traditional gumbo calls for just shrimp and crab in this dish, but my opinion on the matter is to mix it up with the seafood. Add clams, or, even better, lobster meat. If you choose to use clams, cook and chill them with the shrimp at the start of the recipe so you don’t overcook them. If you go with lobster, you can add that in about 20 minutes before the gumbo is done.

For those who aren’t familiar, Dungeness crab is a healthy and low calorie seafood choice--exactly what you need around the holidays--and Daily Fresh Fish delivers the best and freshest Dungeness crab right to your door. Rest easy knowing that Daily Fresh Fish sells only sustainable seafood, which helps to ensure that those who make their living through the ocean can continue to do so for many winters to come.