This recipe was developed in partnership with Smith’s. (and my mom!)
When you’re feeling fancy but also lazy all at the same time… this Cajun Sausage and Seafood Gumbo is the answer to “What to cook for dinner?”
A medley of seafood + sausage = amazing flavor!
When you combine sausage and seafood, good things happen! You don’t need a lot else. So the stars of this delicious dinner are: Cajun-Style Andouille sausage, bay scallops (these are the cute tiny ones!), cod (or other white fish), and shrimp.
For best results, start with good quality Cajun flavored sausage and make sure to purchase your seafood raw. Frozen is okay. Fresh is obviously better. But do what’s convenient and accessible to you.
Believe it or not, making gumbo from scratch is not very difficult!
Smoked sausage, a main player in this gumbo recipe, is easy. It’s already been cooked and it comes ready to eat. You just want to warm it up and brown it a bit for extra flavor.
The veggies are easy too. You want to soften those to remove their crunchy texture and help them release their flavors (and vitamins!) into the broth.
You’ll add chicken stock for flavor as well as some fire-roasted tomatoes for that pop of acidity.
The last step is cooking your seafood and that’s surprisingly easy too. You can cook your seafood right in the soup! Seafood is one of those things that might seem a little tricky, but it’s actually quite quick and easy to cook. However, each type of seafood is a little different so read on if you feel like you could use a few tips.
How to be sure your seafood is fully cooked.
I’d say there are a lot of people out there that overcook their seafood out of fear of not cooking it correctly or long enough. Then it becomes rubbery and bad. And they just think they are a bad cook and give up. Are you one of those people? I know I was until I got some practice with each type of seafood.
The overall trick is to cook seafood just enough. When it’s cooked correctly, it’s flaky and pops with delicious, juicy flavor. But how do you tell when enough is, well, enough?
How to tell when shrimp is fully cooked. Raw shrimp is grey and semi-transparent white. When it’s cooked, it turns a pretty orangey-pink color and the translucent white parts turn solid white.
It’s almost like shrimp has a built in color-changing thermometer! Shrimp also puffs up a bit when cooked. Almost like a piece of popcorn! Looking for this plumpness and color, can help you tell when your shrimp is fully cooked.
If you’re a bit nervous to judge it by eye, or just want to be extra sure your shrimp is fully cooked, you can check the temperature. Choose the biggest shrimp in the pot and check the internal temperature with a thermometer. It should be 165˚. Remember, as soon as that temperature is reached, your shrimp is done and if it remains cooking, will become overcooked. Some experienced chefs will tell you to turn off the heat 5˚-10˚before it gets to 165˚ because the shrimp will continue to cook a little more even after you remove it from your heat source. I’ll leave it up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
How to tell if fish is cooked. Similar to shrimp, fish tends to plump a bit and become flaky. The color also changes from a more translucent look to a solid color. Fish is considered fully cooked when it reaches the internal temperature of 145˚.
How to tell if scallops are cooked. Scallops are also similar to shrimp in that they plump when cooked and they go from a translucent color to a more solid white color when done. The tricky part is they don’t turn the orangey-pink color shrimp does. That and scallops are also thicker. So the outside can look done but the inside can still need a bit more time to fully cook. To be sure, you may want to cut one open to make sure the color is solid white, all the way to the center. The suggested safe internal temperature is 145˚ although many other sources site temperatures lower than that for cooking scallops. So, if you feel like your scallops have been cooking for a long while but your temperature isn’t getting where it needs to be, use the other visual clues to determine if it’s done.
Now, bay scallops are tiny so they’ll cook pretty quickly. If you aren’t able to get a hold of bay scallops and you’re using full-sized scallops, then you will need them to cook longer. You should add full-sized scallops into your gumbo a few minutes sooner than you add the fish and shrimp.
Bringing the Flavor
What gives gumbo it’s classic flavor it the seasoning. You can make your own gumbo seasoning using a blend of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt to taste. Or you can buy a seasoning blend. You’ll want a Louisiana influenced seasoning blend. This particular blend of spices goes by the name of Cajun or Creole. So, if you’re looking for a pre-made spice blend, you can opt for either one of these or create your own using the spices listed and adjust the quantities to suit your tastes.
I would think that if you are looking for a very authentic and refined gumbo flavor, then you may want to try to source your spice blend from the birthplace of gumbo—Louisiana. Try shopping Louisiana gumbo seasoning on Amazon or check the spice aisle in your local grocery store to find the most authentic looking brand.
This gumbo is really simple and delicious in its basic form, but if you want to really load it up, go for it! Here are some other extra ingredients you could stir in that would taste great:
• Corn – scraped off the cob or frozen
• Okra – a popular vegetable in the south, totally fits the southern roots of this dish
• Crawfish, crab, lobster, and/or pretty much any other seafood!
• Shredded Chicken
Want more soup ideas?
Special thanks to Smith’s!
Smith’s, headquartered in Erie, PA has graciously allowed Mighty Mrs. to publish this recipe for cajun sausage and seafood gumbo in order to inspire families with new ways to cook their prepared meats. You can show your gratitude and support by connecting with Smith’s on Facebook: facebook.com/smithshotdogs and on Instagram: instagram.com/smithshotdogs. If you’re located in the tri-state area, you can find Smith’s meats at your local grocer or chain retailer. Visit Smith’s website site for a complete list of locations.
This recipe for Cajun Sausage and Seafood Gumbo was featured on The Country Cook!