Okra Shrimp Gumbo

We are inspired by an Oprah show with Emeril Lagasse making a spicy seafood gumbo to create this gumbo. There is a long ingredient list and a long cooking time, but it is well worth it. The vegetables and shrimp are prepped while the one-pot required for this meal is cooking so the meal is ready in just over an hour. We add a brown roux for flavor and some additional herbs and vegetables. We also substitute bought vegetable stock for the shrimp stock or water to make it more of a vegetable than a seafood gumbo, but next time if we have the shrimp shells we may try the shrimp stock. The resulting gumbo is flavorful, spicy, (Chris adds additional hot pepper sauce), and full of vegetables and shrimp. It is perfect with rice or corn muffins.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hours

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We start by heating a large pot over medium-low heat with the oil. When it is hot, we add the flour and stir with our flat whisk to mix. We set the whisk aside and continue to cook the flour-oil mixture (roux) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to check on its progress. We want the roux to smell nutty and to get a nice brown shade.

Meanwhile, we prep our vegetables. We chop our onion and green pepper, yielding ¾ cup of each. We place these into a large bowl. Next we chop the celery, yielding between ½ and ¾ cup. We set these into the bowl as well. Next, we wash our okra in a large bowl of cold water. We cut off the caps and tips and discard.

The roux is just about ready so we add the contents of the bowl (the onion, green pepper, and celery) to the brown roux and stir with the whisk. We lower the heat a bit and continue to get the remaining vegetables ready.

We slice the okra into thin slices and add to the bowl that held the veggies that are now cooking. When all the okra is sliced, we have 1¾ cup, which we add to the pot and stir. We raise the heat to medium and cook and stir for about 8 minutes. The okra is releasing its gelatinous contents and all the vegetables are softening.

We put the 3 whole peeled tomatoes from a large can into a measuring cup and add enough juice to make 1-cup. We add this to the pot, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. We cook for another 5 minutes.

We add a pinch of salt, the cayenne, bay leaves, dried thyme, and the vegetable stock and stir. We add the thyme sprigs and bring the mixture up to a boil. We lower the heat, partially cover the pot, and cook for at least 20 minutes.

When the gumbo is almost ready to be served, we start to defrost the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink, according to the package directions. We chop the parsley that will be added at the end of the preparation. When the shrimp are defrosted, we pull off and discard the tails.

We add the defrosted shrimp and cook, stirring often, for just a few minutes. We want the shrimp just cooked through. We remove the bay leaves and the thyme stems and taste for seasoning. We add a little more salt and serve the gumbo immediately sprinkled with the parsley.

Since we will not be able to finish the gumbo tonight, we take out all the shrimp and set them into a separate bowl to cool quickly. We refrigerate the vegetables and shrimp separately and will heat them separately for a future leftover meal.

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