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Author Notes: A Classic soup I often crave and rarely find made well. —David
- 1 1/2 pounds Wild Caught, Head on, medium shrimp
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound okra
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage, diced
- 4 ounces tasso ham (or country ham), diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 pound crawfish tail meat
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- 12 oysters with liquor
- 1 tablespoon file powder (optional)
- 20 cups cooked rice
- green onions to garnish
- hot sauce to taste
- Peel shrimp, saving peels and heads. Set shrimp aside Place peels and heads on sheet pan and toast in a 375 oven for 15-20 minutes (shells should start to color)
- In a covered pot or dutch oven heat oil to 350 degrees. Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Cover and place in 350 oven. Check every 15 minutes and stir. In an hour roux should be deep golden brown in color.
- Place toasted shrimp heads and shells in another pot with 8 cups water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Place pot with roux back on stove top. with medium heat add onions, peppers, celery and let soften (5 minutes) Add garlic and spices and stir for a minute Add sausage and ham and stir for another minute. Add strained shrimp broth and simmer for 5 minutes.
- If you prefer your okra not so slimy cook in a dry skillet tossing frequently for 5 minutes or better yet if you have a charcoal or wood grill going grill them. Slice okra about 1/2 inch.
- Add okra to pot and simmer 15 minutes. Add seafood and simmer 5 minutes (try not to break up lumps of crab meat) If desired add file powder and simmer 5 minutes more. Adjust for salt and pepper
- serve over rice
- It's not traditional so I didn't include it but my family (or one member) demands tomatoes so I usually add 1 28 ounce can of tomatoes.(It is delicious both ways so feel free to try) File powder is traditionally used as a thickener but the soup shouldn't need to be thickened. It's made from ground sassafrass leaves and many like the flavor and some don't