Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
I first had gumbo when I was a child, when my Uncle Curtis and Aunt Eudocia came to visit us from Texas. Aunt Dochie was from the gulf area and had a culinary history of both Cajun and Mexican food. Among other things, I got to watch her make gumbo, make flour tortillas from scratch, and learned by her hand how to catch and clean crab for stuffed crab and other things (including gumbo). I also got to watch my Uncle deviously slip past the soup pot, and when he saw he was spotted, put a slender finder to his lips to ensure secrecy as he dropped one of the hot chillies he so loved in there with a wry smile.
I didn’t mind. We have the same chilli loving blood.
But my parents would howl about how spicy it was. LOL
You don’t have to put chillies in your gumbo if you don’t want. In fact, you don’t have to even add the Louisiana pepper sauce. I don’t really think that sauce is all that hot, but you know, it does vary by brand. And since I make a lot of my own hot sauces from scratch, the kind of sauce I shake in there might not be from your usual garden variety pepper.
I know my uncle would approve, although I don’t think he partakes of it as much in his golden years.
And the spirit of my mother, who I feel certain watches over every single cooking thing I do, and every food related post I write, may have just had a “spiritual realization” of what used to go on back in the day. Perhaps she is wondering if she should haunt her brother right now? I suspect she might.
Oh man, is Uncle Curtis ever going to get it. You can run…but you can’t hide from Mom (forever!)
I do hope you enjoy this and get a bit of a spiritual experience from it yourself. I doubt it compares to my Auntie’s version of gumbo, but it most certainly reminds. I thought of her when I tasted it. RIP Auntie. You were greatly loved, and so was your delicious cooking.
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
- 1 pound fresh okra pods, trimmed and sliced
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup diced green pepper
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon Cajun spice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- salt (to taste; add the Cajun spice before you taste)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup light roux
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound small raw peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 2 scallions, sliced
- gumbo file (optional garnish)
- Saute okra in a large skillet until browned; stir in the onion, celery, green pepper, bay leaves, garlic and thyme and cook until vegetables soften, adding the garlic the last minute so that it does not burn.
- Place vegetable mixture in a heavy bottomed pot large enough to hold 2-1/2 quarts.
- Whisk the roux into the vegetables. We are using light roux here, and you may use homemade or use a purchased type, whichever you prefer. Generally, roux is half flour, half oil, cooked and stirred over low heat until it is the color of peanut butter.
- When roux is mixed into the vegetable, stir in the broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for about an hour.
- Stir shrimp, hot sauce, parsley and scallions into gumbo and cook just until they brighten and begin to curl; do not overcook.
- Serve gumbo with steamed white rice, garnished with extra parsley or scallion and gumbo file if desired.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
You might also like: