Guest Author - Sandie Jarrett
A mild gumbo, made easy by substituting a roux with okra for thickened. Served over white rice, this is an easy gumbo to make any day of the week.
1-1/2 pounds small okra* caps and ends removed, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
15 oz can of chopped tomatoes (1-1/2 cups peeled and seeded fresh tomatoes, chopped)
3/4 cup onions, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 quart water
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
2 pounds uncooked, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped and divided
2 tablespoons green onion, sliced
6 cups freshly cooked long-grained rice
Heat the olive oil in a large(5 - 6 quart)heavy pot over medium high heat until hot. Add the okra and fry, stirring constantly, until most of the slime is gone, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often until the slime is completely gone, about 15 – 20 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 of the chopped parsley, the water and the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through – about 15 - 20 minutes**. Remove bay leaves.
How to Serve:
Ladle the gumbo into a warm tureen and serve at once, accompanied by the rice in a separate bowl. Traditionally, a cupful of rice is mounded in the center of a heated soup plate and the gumbo is spooned around it. Garnish with remaining parsley and green onions.
*If fresh okra is not available, substitute frozen.
**61-70 per pound shrimp was used for this recipe. Adjust length of cooking time when using a different size.
In this recipe, it is worth the extra effort to use uncooked shrimp rather than buying and using cooked shrimp. The result is a more flavorful dish full of succulent, delicious shrimp.