So, for the past three weeks I've stared at the crab legs in my freezer and thought "I really need to do something with these"...took stock of what else I had in my cabinets...canned tomatoes, rice, spices, water, flour. Gumbo! Enjoy this easy, "throw what you like in" recipe for seafood gumbo.
**Note: you will also need a sieve (or a very small-holed strainer) to make the broth
1 lb medium-large shrimp, peeled, save the shells
1 1/2 lb snow crab legs
1 bag mussels
3 bay leaves
8 cups water
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 cup white rice
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup thinly slice scallions
1/2 tsp crushed thyme
sea salt, pepper, and creole season blend - to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons flour
In a large pot, simmer water, shrimp shells and bay leaf partially covered for 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, return the shrimp stock to the pot to keep warm while you are prepping the rest.
While the broth is cooking, in a large skillet, combine oil and flour over medium-low heat, stir constantly with a straight edged spatula, until the roux is a shade between peanut butter and caramel. Usually takes about 30 minutes.
Stir in onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened.
Stir the vegetable-roux mixture into the shrimp stock that you've been keeping warm, bring to a boil. Add in crab legs and simmer partially covered about 15 minutes. Stir in rice and tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
At this point the stove should stay on low for the remainder of the cooking time
Remove crab legs and place on a clean plate or cutting board. Remove meat from the legs and body. I usually leave a few leg portions with the shell on in the gumbo so it keeps the flavor cooking, and also is fun to eat in the end! Make sure the deshelled crabmeat is in bite-sized pieces and stir back into gumbo.
Add shrimp and let simmer 5 minutes, stir in scallions, thyme, and a good sized (three finger) pinch of salt, pepper and creole seasoning. Mix ingredients together. Add in mussels and cover partially. Let cook about 5-10 minutes to allow mussels to open. Mix gumbo, taste and season to taste.
Let the gumbo cook for a bit on very low heat until it thickens a bit and the rice is cooked through. Best if served right away. Can also make a day ahead, let cool uncovered, then put in fridge covered. I suggest reheating on the stove.