Forsyth Seafood & Cafe in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is well-known for their fresh catch, staple sides, and undeniably Southern hospitality. But, their artillery goes beyond the perfect fillet or fried flounder. Here, chef Ashley Hardesty Armstrong shares her famous North Carolina seafood gumbo featuring savory chicken stock, a slew of fresh vegetables, and shrimp, crab, and oyster meat. Reflecting that natural North Carolina hospitality, this seafood gumbo is built to satisfy a large crowd.
4 pounds chicken legs, thighs, and breasts, skin removed
2 celery ribs, leaves intact
1 carrot, cut into thirds
1 medium onion
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup neutral oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh okra
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 (14½-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 pound peeled and de-veined jumbo shrimp
1 pound fresh crab meat
6 ounces (about 2/3 cup) freshly shucked oyster meat
¼ teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
9 cups cooked rice
For the chicken stock:
For the gumbo:
- Make the stock: Place chicken, 3 quarts water, celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, skimming foam and fat from top as needed. Remove chicken from pot, separate meat from bones, reserving meat for another use. Return bones to stock and continue simmering while you start the gumbo.
- Make the gumbo: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Gradually add flour and stir constantly until it forms a very dark roux. Add okra, onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until okra is tender. Add green onions, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, and undrained tomatoes. Strain prepared chicken stock and add to gumbo. Simmer 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add fresh seafood. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
- To serve: Spoon desired amount of rice into individual soup bowls. Ladle seafood gumbo over rice. Freeze any leftovers for later use.
Recipe ByAshley Hardesty Armstrong of Forsyth Seafood & Cafe in Winston-Salem, North Carolina