I gotta say that Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo has been one of my favorite dishes since I was a kid. There are a few really important factors to keep in mind when making authentic gumbo. It really comes down to two important items: your roux and a shrimp (or shrimp and crab) stock. I also think the addition of two New Orleans classic ingredients is key, too, those being Crystal brand hot sauce, and gumbo file. NOLA is one of our favorite places in the world, and we try to visit there every couple years, and every time I go, I pick me up some Crystals and file. But we go through Crystals like crazy, so I often order more bottles online. You can also order the file online, too.
But let’s get back to the roux…classic gumbo starts with a brown roux. This takes a little longer to get the right color (and nutty flavor), but be patient. It should turn a milk-chocolate color, and be sure to whisk constantly. For the stock, a full bodied shrimp stock is essential. Follow this recipe for shrimp / crab stock, and you can’t go wrong.
This Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo is the real deal and a true H2FaL favorite dish. Can’t make it to the Big Easy…whip this up, and you’ll feel pretty darn close. So good!
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ lbs okra, sliced ¼" thick
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1½ large green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 4 quarts Shrimp / Crab Stock (click for full recipe)
- ⅔ cup Crystal Hot Sauce
- ⅔ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Creole/Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped (I use my hands to crush them as I drop them into the pot)
- 1 tablespoon file powder
- 2 lbs peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- Hot cooked rice
- Scallions, sliced, for garnish
- In a large pot (preferably Dutch oven), heat oil over medium-high heat and slowly whisk in flour. Cook and whisking constantly until a brown roux forms, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Carefully add okra, onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add stock, hot sauce, Worcestershire, Creole/Cajun seasoning, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, tomatoes and file and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Add the shrimp in the final 10 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Serve with hot cooked rice and garnish with scallions.