Tomorrow is Mardi Gras. Not that I indulge, but hearing about the celebration makes me think of New Orleans. When I think of the the Crescent City, two things immediately come to mind: Anne Rice and gumbo. I don’t think this is the proper place to talk about vampires and witches, so we’ll go with a seafood sausage gumbo instead. Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Gumbo purists would not agree that the recipe below is authentic. It doesn’t involve a thickener such as filé (powdered sassafras leaves), a roux (fat and flour), or even okra. However, I’ve been making this recipe forever and calling it “gumbo,” so I’m sticking with the name even though it’s really more of a stew. My version is low-carb, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly too.
Make It Your Own
This seafood sausage gumbo is easy to customize. If you don’t like things particularly spicy, use a mild sausage and leave out the cayenne. If you like things really spicy, add some minced chile peppers along with the bell pepper. If you don’t want to spend the money on crab and scallops, it’s great with just shrimp and sausage.
Throw your own version in a pot tomorrow and celebrate Fat Tuesday wherever you are!
Make-ahead tip: Complete the first three steps of the seafood sausage gumbo recipe, then cool and refrigerate the tomato mixture. About 15 minutes before you want to eat, bring the mixture to a simmer, then proceed with the recipe. This works great if you need to run out to a kid’s soccer game around dinner time. Leave the tomato mixture in the pot on the stove (burner OFF), covered. When you get home, heat it up and add the seafood and sausage.
Seafood Sausage Gumbo
- 12 ounces spicy chicken or turkey sausage links cut into 1-inch slices (I like Al Fresco Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausage)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/2 pound scallops
- 6 ounces lump crabmeat
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté sausage over medium heat until it's starting to brown. If your sausage is precooked, it will take about 5 minutes. If it's not cooked, it will take about 15 minutes. Remove from pot to paper towel-lined plate.
Add oil to pot along with onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes or until onions begin to look translucent.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to pot. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. (If you're making ahead, stop here, let cool, and refrigerate. About 15 minutes before you want to eat, bring the tomato mixture to a simmer and proceed with the recipe.)
Add the shrimp and scallops to the tomato mixture in the pot. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the crab and sausage. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until everything is heated through. (Don't cook the seafood too long or it will be rubbery.)
Garnish with parsley and serve.
If you are watching your Sodium intake, use reduced sodium or homemade chicken stock, no-salt-added tomatoes (or fresh), and you may want to leave out the added salt. Also look for a low-sodium brand of sausage.
If you don't like your gumbo spicy, use a mild sausage and leave out the cayenne pepper. If you want spicier gumbo, add in chopped chile peppers along with the bell peppers.