Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

I was born and raised in south Louisiana where gumbo is a mainstay. You know I love cooking and I love exploring new dishes. I’m a little ashamed to say that, within the past year, I’ve only just learned to make a shrimp stew, and most recently, a gumbo. I can say that the roux is the most critical and specific part of making a superb gumbo. Once you’ve mastered that, you can dominate many southern dishes.

The Roux

Equal amounts of oil and flour. I usually heat my oil on medium-high. I’ll walk away and fold a load of laundry or wash some dishes and then come back and the oil is usually ready. Go ahead and sprinkle the flour in while stirring. Pull up your barstool and set your wine on the counter. You’re gonna be there for a while. Being careful not to burn the flour, you want to continuously stir. I don’t let more than 10 seconds go by without stirring. Make sure you scrape the entire bottom of the pan when stirring.

The Color

For the purposes of this dish, I go for a dark, amber, nutty brown color.


The Trinity

Celery, bell pepper, and onion. This is what, we Cajuns, call The Trinity. You’re going to want to dice these before you start cooking.

chpd veg

Add the Veggies and Watch the Magic Happen

Add all of your veggies into the cooked roux, along with Lobster Base, Crab Boil seasoning, and garlic powder. You’re going to eventually add water when the veggies are all nice and cooked down.

roux veg

Start Smothering the Okra

You want your heat on medium-low. You might even be safe on medium. Just keep an eye on it so the okra doesn’t burn. I add a little water to facilitate the smothering process. Smother the okra until mostly cooked. It will appear slimy.


The Recipe

  • 1 lb of raw peeled, deveined shrimp (I use medium shrimp and I cut them in half)
  • 16 oz bag frozen okra
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • Roux: 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon lobster base
  • 1 teaspoon liquid crab boil seasoning (I use the powdered version so I use 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt to taste (I used a total of 1 teaspoon but you may desire more)
  • 3 cups rice, uncooked

The Directions

  1. In a large pot like a 5-quart Dutch Oven, heat your oil over medium-high. Once hot, sprinkle the flour in while stirring as to not burn the flour. Stirring continuously, cook your roux for about 10-15 minutes until the desired color is reached. A dark amber color is most preferred for a gumbo.
  2. Add the garlic powder, crab boil seasoning, and lobster base. Stir to mix.
  3. Add your veggies to the cooked roux and continue stirring for about 5 minutes until the veggies are cooked down. The oil helps accelerate this process.
  4. Add the 6 cups of water and stir
  5. While stirring the gumbo occasionally, start smothering the okra on medium-low to medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover. Stir okra occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes.
  6. Taste the gumbo every now and then and add small amounts of salt and flavor to taste. *Some don’t even use salt and if you’re looking to reduce the sodium in your diet, it’s very palatable.
  7. Add the smothered okra and allow to cook for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat. *You may even cook it for much longer if you plan to have the gumbo later in the day.
  8. Add the shrimp 10 minutes before serving. Serve over cooked rice.
  9. Gumbo file’ can be sprinkled in a bowl once served. *Traditionally, file’ is used as a thickening agent but I’ve always used it to add a little extra flavor.

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