Cajun Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

Spice up dinner with a traditional Cajun recipe that all seafood lovers will enjoy.

2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
2 28-oz. cans tomatoes, chopped, with juice
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bunches scallions, trimmed and cut in 1/2″ slices
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 lb. okra, trimmed and sliced
6 oz. cajun andouille sausage, cut in 1/4″ slices or crumbled*
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided into two 1/4 cups
Scant 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
2-3 cups rice, cooked (use the smaller amount for 6 people)

* Substitute chorizo sausage if andouille is unavailable.

Extra Shrimp Garnish
About 1/2 lb. shrimp (shelled, but tails sections on)
Drizzle olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic


Step 1: Put the shrimp in a bowl (except shrimp used for garnish), salt lightly, cover and refrigerate.

Step 2: Put the shrimp shells in a large saucepan or pot and add 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Reserve water.

Step 3: Add enough water to reserved water to make 4 cups. Pour into a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add chicken stock, tomatoes (with juice), bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring foccasionally, for 30 minutes.

Step 4: While the stock is simmering, heat the butter in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until the onions begin to soften, 3-5 minutes, then add celery, green and red bell peppers and scallions. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add the garlic and okra and cook, stirring often, until the okra is tender, about 15 minutes.

Step 6: Stir the vegetables into the stock, along with the andouille, half the parsley, and the cayenne.

Step 7: Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until reduced by about half. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Step 8: Add the shrimp and remaining parsley to the gumbo. Simmer just until the shrimp is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Discard the bay leaves.

Step 9: To prepare the extra shrimp to stack on top, heat olive oil and garlic in a frying pan on medium-high. Add shelled shrimp with tails still on, and cook. Reserve.

Step 10: Divide the rice among 6-8 plates or wide soup bowls, spoon on the gumbo, add additional cooked shrimp to each plate and serve.

Nina Teixeira