- 4 live hard-shell crabs , cleaned
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound andouille sausage , cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound kielbasa , cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 pound veal stew meat
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 6 chicken wings , tips removed, cut in half at joint
- 1/2 pound smoked ham , diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 large cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound medium shrimp , peeled and deveined
- 24 shucked oysters (1/2 pint) with their liquid, optional
- 1 tablespoon file powder
- 5 cups hot, cooked rice , to serve
Heat oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture (called a roux) turns the color of pecans, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
Stir roux into pot with crab mixture. Gradually add 3 quarts of water, stirring to combine and scraping any brown bits from bottom and sides of pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in chicken wings, ham, paprika, parsley, garlic, thyme and salt. Return to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp and oysters (if using); simmer 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in filé powder. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve over rice.