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GoNOLA Recipes at Home: Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo

Gumbo recipes are kind of like Mardi Gras beads. No matter how many you throw at us, we will take them all – especially when the recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse! This classic seafood gumbo has some opportunity for customization. Oysters and shrimp are a must, but you can choose whether catfish or grouper is more to your taste. The addition of Emeril’s Essence, a DIY spice blend, adds a bit more prep time to this dish, but it’s well worth the effort: use the Essence seasoning for a variety of dishes beyond just gumbo – chicken, beef, or pork all play well with Creole flavors.

Emeril's Classic Seafood Gumbo (photo: courtesy Emeril's New Orleans)
Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo (photo: courtesy Emeril’s New Orleans)

Classic Seafood Gumbo

By chef Emeril Lagasse

Yield: 8-10 Servings


  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
  • 6 cups shrimp stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 pound gumbo crabs (about 2)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound white fish fillets, such as catfish, grouper, snapper, or sole
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Essence
  • 2 cups shucked oysters with their liquor
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped tender green onion tops
  • White Rice, for serving


Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour to the pot. Stir the oil and flour together with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to stir the roux for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the color of milk chocolate.

Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beer and shrimp stock to the pot.

Season the gumbo with thyme, bay leaves, gumbo crabs, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.

Season both the shrimp and the catfish with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Essence. Stir the shrimp and fish into the gumbo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the oysters to the pot and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season if necessary.

Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.

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