Crab and Shrimp Stew

Crab and Shrimp Stew

This hearty crab and shrimp stew by Marcelle Bienvenu is perfect for cool autumn days.

Crab and Shrimp Stew
Serves 6
A hearty seafood stew.
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  1. 12 large live blue crabs
  2. ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1¼ cups chopped onion
  5. ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  6. ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  7. ¾ cup chopped celery
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 6 cups seafood stock
  12. 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
  13. 1½ pounds large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  14. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  1. Scald crabs with hot water to stun. Remove the back 
(top shell) from each crab, and clean out gills, lungs, and center of each. Crack crabs in half, and remove claws. Reserve claws for stock.
  2. In a large heavy stockpot, combine oil and flour, and heat over medium heat. Stirring slowly, make a dark-brown roux, 15 to 20 minutes. Add onion, bell peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and seafood stock. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, add crabs, and simmer 20 minutes. Add crabmeat and shrimp, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add parsley. Serve hot.
Louisiana Cookin


  1. Now I would serve this week over rice for a stew, otherwise it is a soup. Also, I will use crabs already boiled, more flavor AND donT forget to sautéed those shrimp first before adding to the pot shrimp would be seasoned with garlic and onion powder and a little seasoed salt .

    • Also I am from New Orleans and we just boil the shrimp heads and there’s your stock….use only the water not the heads. I just strain it over a bowl.

    • I have a friend that works in a fish shop and brings me heads. I simmer a half dozen heads with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, pepper corns, and salt. Sometimes a add a little white wine or Saki. Strain twice and enjoy.

      • Rich: What you make is called a fish fumet, and it sounds like a good one. I would add a little thyme and tarragon, then some minced parsley at the end. This soup is also very good with bite-sized pieces of any fish added. In New Orleans, we put a scoop of steamed rice in each bowl and cover it with the soup.

    • Save the water you boil your seafood in and/or save the shells, heads, legs, what ever you can salvage,add just enough liquid to cover and simmer, simmer, simmer. Add seasonings of choice, strain, let cool. Either freeze (you can use an ice cube tray, to make individual broth cubes) or refrigerate and use within a few days.

    • Look for the following at your local grocery, specialty food store, Wal-Mart or
      1. Bar Harbor® Seafood Stock at Thrive Market
      2. Kitchen Basics® Natural Seafood Cooking Stock at Wal-Mart
      3. Better Than Bouillon® Fish Base
      4. Swanson® Seafood Cooking Stock
      5. Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold®

    • Take the shrimp heads and shells, add ends of celery stalks, rough cut carrots, onion ends/pieces, peppercorn, thyme/basil sprigs, bay leaves, garlic cloves and salt. Boil for an hour and strain out solids when done. Voila, you have seafood stock. You can substitute shrimp with fish heads or crabs as well.

  2. Ok im sure the “live” blue crabs are the key to this stew but I need an alternative to this part…what is a substitution? Can you purchase them already “scald to stun”/done(not sure of the terminology)?!!!

    • Hi Elise. Instead of using live crabs, many seafood markets carry cleaned frozen crabs (depending on the season). Those will also work in this recipe.

  3. This is a very good recipe am going to make this as soon as I get back to San Antonio, Texas, we have a store by the name of HEB that carry the Lump crabmeat already picked out an ready to be used. I noticed in your instructions that it did not say when to add the shrimp.

    • I haven’t shopped at HEB, but have heard great things about it! The shrimp are added along with the crabmeat near the end of Step 2. — Daniel Schumacher, editor

      • As a shrimp lover, I assumed that would be best. Over cooked shrimp are the worst. Thank you for the information.

    • Without getting too far into roux science, the thickening power of the roux declines as it darkens. If you didn’t mind a thinner stew, something closer to a soup, you could just omit the flour.

    • Try some practice runs using flax seed flour. True New Orleanian here. I know the true roux is best, but this might work. Low Carb guy myself.

  4. off to the store to get ingredients so my daughter – in – law & I can spend this afternoon together cooking this mouth watering stew / soup.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  5. I love this and I can’t wait to try it. I’m here in Florida and seafood is my families thing. I shared this on Facebook so my daughter in Florida and Texas could get it.

    • Because the recipe already calls for 1 pound of lump crabmeat, you don’t need to add any more if you’re going to leave out the live crabs. The stew will still be very crabby.

  6. I just made this on Saturday after carrying the recipe around on my phone for 2 months and OMG was it good. I doubled up on the ingredients and invited family and friends. It was a little expensive buying 2 LBS of loose crabmeat at 20.00 lb. And buying 3 lbs of shrimp and 24 crabs to kill and clean. I found the seafood stock with no problems at Acme. Everyone loved it. Even the vegetarians which I set aside a bowl without any crab or shrimp. This will b one of my signature meals. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe

    • Of course! Just make sure to keep the total weight of the seafood the same. You’d want to add the scallops with the shrimp and cook them until just done. Overcooked scallops are a bummer!

  7. I was born in Louisiana and have carried family recipes around for years. Now I have the same recipes tucked in my tablet on the LC web site! Much lighter to carry around. My subscription to LC takes me home every time I open the cover. They are my coffee table books that visitors pick up to look at and forget to friend who is a non cook asked me if I really cooked all that stuff! I told her most of it in my 60 years of cooking. (Rolled eyes).

  8. I love “Louisana Cookin” and can’t wait for it to arrive in my mailbox. I am a native (5th generation) of Biloxi, Mississippi and have been in the Atlanta area now for almost 30 yrs. Even with the great chefs and resturants in Atlanta, no one can top the fresh seafood that we are so blessed to have on the Mississippi/Lousiana coast…Not to mention our great chefs ! So many receipes in your magazine, I remember eating as a child and even some I now cook for my family.

  9. I am in California, as a misplaced Texan with Louisiana heritage. I do so enjoy LC. Haven’t tried the recipe but will. We have enjoyed other recipes that come from you. Thank you.

  10. Shrimp stock is so easy. Use the heads and shells along with any vegetable scraps, ie, tough celery root parts, onions skins, garlic skins, bell pepper seed and stem, etc. Boil all this until the vegetable are pretty much mush. At that point you have extracted everything you can out of it. Use a kitchen strainer. to get your stock and put the rest in the compost pile. Frere Jean Salt Free Seasoning comes in Cajun and Seafood (which has some dried shrimp in it.)

  11. Steve S.
    I’m born and raised louisiana, Fordoche…….. l now live in NC, every time I’m home I bring back all the great foods of louisiana, this is another great from LC, can’t wait to make it and share with my friends here.

  12. I love this recipe, I make my own Creole seasoning. I like Tony’s but it can be too salty. I like Zatarains shrimp and crab boil for my seafood too

  13. way too much work for a simple seafood stew! And Ol Bay should NEVER be used in cajun coooking – no Yankee seasoning for the good ole South!

  14. When I want Crab Stew, I WANT Crabs!!! Not shrimp! That would totally turn me off!! You either make one or the other. Cajuns don’t desecrate an immaculate conception!!! I also believe in the Holy Trinity, both of them. Father, Son & Holy Ghost & Celery, Onions & Bell peppers!! Anything else is a sin. It’s all about the taste buds!!


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