My daughter lived in New Orleans for two or three years and while there learned to make authentic gumbo from a lady she knew. Since our okra crop is at its peak, I decided that now would be a good time to make some and to make it the right way. My daughter was here for awhile this morning and gave me a few tips so I know I prepared it properly. So glad I did – even my opinionated son said I did good!
The first thing to do is get your roux started. All real gumbo starts with a roux. Now you can stand at the stove and stir for a couple of hours or you can prepare it the easy way my daughter taught me. Preheat the oven to 400 °. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan and stir in the flour slowly. Keep stirring until the flour begins to brown. Place the pan in the preheated oven and stir every fifteen minutes until roux is chocolate brown.
While the roux is in the oven, begin preparing the other ingredients. Cook the shrimp. Let cool a few minutes and peel, putting the shells back in the pot of water to make a broth. Add onions, carrots, celery,etc. to the pot and cook slowly.
Now that the roux is in the oven and the broth is simmering, you can begin to work with the other ingredients. In the same pan you will use for the gumbo, add a little oil and cook the washed and cut okra pieces until they are no longer slimy.
When okra is done, remove from pan and saute onions, peppers, celery, garlic, and parsley until transparent.
Now we are on the home stretch. Stir in the roux, okra, and tomatoes.
Strain the broth and add to the other ingredients. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Simmer over low heat for fifteen to thirty minutes. Taste it to see if it needs anything else. Make adjustments and cook slowly for another thirty minutes or longer. When ready to serve, stir in the shrimp and heat for a few more minutes. Serve in a bowl over cooked rice.
This dish is a big production but it is worth it! Makes a big pot full so you can serve a lot of people or look forward to wonderful leftovers.
SHRIMP GUMBO RECIPE:
Heat some oil in your stock pot that you will be using for the gumbo, add okra to heated oil and stir fry until it is no longer slimy, it will take a while. Chop the other vegetables while the okra is cooking, just make sure you stir the okra frequently. When the okra is done, remove it from the pan and set aside. You may need to add a little more oil or butter to the pan to saute the vegetables.
Once your vegetables become translucent, add your broth and seasonings. I add salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, most of your flavor will come from the veggies and roux. If your roux is done, add it into the pot slowly, if you don’t think you need all the roux, I think you can store it. Add your okra back in the pot as well. Stir everything well and let simmer. After it cooks for 15 min or so, taste it and see if it needs anything and if so add it and let it simmer at least another 30 min. Serve in a bowl over steamed rice.