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Serves : 12

Gumbo is a defining dish of Louisiana cooking. This version is packed with seafood (crab claws practically reach out of the pot) and delivers a real Creole punch. Your fishmonger can do the crab cracking for you. Any firm smoked pork sausage can be substituted for the andouille. Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

How to Make It

Step 1    

Pull off the top shells of the crabs and discard. Remove and discard the gills. Cut the crabs in half. Crack the claws with a rolling pin or mallet.

Step 2    

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or small stockpot until smoking, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the roux is the color of chocolate, 3 to 5 minutes; do not let it burn. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the bell peppers, scraping the bottom of the pot. Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, thyme and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3    

Gradually add 2 quarts of cold water to the pot, stirring constantly. Add the crabs, sausage and okra, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover partially and cook for 1 hour; skim often. Add the shrimp and cook for 10 minutes. Add the oysters and their liquor and bring just to a boil over moderate heat. Serve immediately, passing the rice and hot sauce separately.

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