4 live hard-shell live hard-shell crabs , cleaned
1 pound boneless skinless 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 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 de-veined
24 shucked oysters (1/2 pint) with their liquid, optional
1 tablespoon file powder
5 cups hot, cooked rice, to serve
In an 8-quart Dutch oven, combine crabs (if using crabmeat, add in fourth step with shrimp and oysters), chicken thighs, both sausages and veal. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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.
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.