The family comes together on New Year’s Day and shares in a pot of gumbo passed down from Gramo’s family recipe. This recipe feeds 35—if you are big on crab buy 10. But you will need to have extra chicken broth on hand. Prep takes about 2 hours depending on the number of helpers. Cook time about 2-3 hours.

Gramo’s Gumbo



6-8 Chicken thighs

4lbs Shrimp, medium, deveined w/tails (shell ok)

6-10 Dungeness Crabs (uncooked)

2 lbs Smoked sausage

1lb Gizzards & hearts


4 Roma Tomatoes

2 Green bell peppers

4 Celery stalk

2 White onions

6-8 Cloves (or 3 tsp minced) garlic


Salt & Pepper

Onion & Garlic powder

Salt, Pepper TT

These next three ingredients you will find in the Spanish seasoning section

1 package dried chili pepper pods

1 package of ground shrimp

2 packages of small dried shrimp

Gumbo File

1 cup Flour & Oil for the Roux


Dry Goods

1 box Zatarains’s gumbo base

2-1 lb. cans of diced seasoned tomatoes

3 to 4 3lb (48 oz.) containers of chicken broth

1-5 lb bag of rice


Pot—30 quart w/lid

Mesh bag-cheese cloth works

Vegetable brushes

Deep bowls

Rice cooker


Crab: Hopefully the store will clean them for you. Do NOT buy cooked crab! Invest in a couple of vegetable brushes with stiff bristles. Bring the crabs home, submerge these whole in deep bowls with Kosher Salt water solution. The saline helps break off the crab crust. Using the vegetable brush scrub all surfaces clean. Use a butter knife to scrap the joints. Rinse underwater while doing this. Crack off legs and heart and set aside in another bowl of water in the fridge. Continue until all crab is cleaned.

Dice tomatoes, green pepper, celery, onions & garlic.

Add water to cover the 2 packages of dried shrimp.

Boil 20min gizzards & hearts, (diced very small ) pinch of salt, onions & fresh garlic. Drain water only, leaving the chicken parts in the cooking pot. Saute the vegetables, and add them into the pot with the gizzards and hearts.

De bone and Chop chicken (nugget size) season chicken & toss in flour to coat for frying. Fry 10 minutes each side or until golden brown. Set aside.

Make Roux –about a 50/50 mix of oil & flour. Heat oil (about a cup) enough to cover bottom of skillet over medium to medium high heat. Slowly sprinkle in the flour (about a cup) a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue to stir constantly. Do not walk away! If you burn it even the tiniest bit, it is unusable. You will notice the flour beginning to brown, wait for a golden brown. You can make this ahead of time and keep tightly covered in the fridge or freezer, or set aside.

Saute the sausage, set aside.

Make a mesh bag to hold the tails you will remove from the shrimp. Tie tightly. Store fresh shrimp in fridge.


3-3lb containers of chicken broth

2-1 lb. cans of diced seasoned tomatoes

3 pods of chili pepper to start

1 tbsp of gumbo file (too much will make it too dark)

3 tbsp onion powder

3 tbsp garlic powder

Drain and add dry shrimp

Add gizzards and hearts & sautéed vegetables

Add roma tomatoes

Add package of ground shrimp

Shrimp tail bag—keep on top so you can find it easily

Heat ½ hour till starting to boil. Add Crab (keep shrimp tail bag on top) Add more chicken broth if necessary to make sure crab is covered. Cover with lid. Let re-heat back to a slow boil about 45 minutes.

Make gumbo base, can substitute juice from pot instead of water. Add almost all the roux for thickening to the prepared pot of jumbo base. 

Remove shrimp tail bag 

Tip—remove most of the crab w/tongs into a separate pot before adding the following.

Add gumbo base slowly and stir in till dissolved.

Add chicken, sausage, 2 tbsp salt, pepper

Taste and add additional seasoning (more file & possibly the rest of the roux if not thick enough) Gumbo is not thin like soup, but more of a stew consistency.

Add back in the crab, cover.

Let cook for 1/2 hour till back to a slow boil, boil about 15 minutes, and turn off.

Let sit for ½ hour no heat. Serve over rice and make garlic bread. Enjoy!