There is truly something magical about New Orleans Cuisine. The beautiful melding of so many influences and cultures makes for incredible dishes.
Every time we travel to the Big Easy down near the bayou, we fall in love all over again with the city, the people, the culture, the history, and of course, the food! Gumbo is about as classic it comes, and this dish is quintessential NOLA. And it’s not difficult to prepare!
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC SHRIMP AND OKRA GUMBO
There are a few really important factors to keep in mind when making Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo.
It really comes down to two important items: your roux and a shrimp (or shrimp and crab) stock.
Also, the addition of two New Orleans classic ingredients is key, too, those being Crystals brand hot sauce and gumbo filé. If you can’t find Crystal’s at your local market, you can easily order it online. We do all the time!
Gumbo filé is not 100% required, but it’s another ingredient that makes the dish taste very authentic.
NOLA is one of our favorite places in the world, and we try to visit there every couple of years, and every time we go, we pick up some Crystals and Gumbo Filé. But we go through Krystals like crazy, so I often order more bottles online. You can also order the file online, too.
HOW TO MAKE A DARK ROUX
Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo start 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.
In a pinch, you can use purchase seafood stock combined with clam juice, but we do recommend making the stock from scratch!.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
The gumbo should be simmered to bring all the flavors together.
The smell is incredible.
We toss the shrimp in at the very end and they cook until pink and curled.
OTHER CAJUN CLASSIC DISHES TO TRY
But in the meantime, let’s make an amazing batch of the Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag #howtofeedaloon!
Classic Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ lbs okra sliced 1/4" thick
- 2 large yellow onions chopped
- 1½ large green bell peppers seeded and chopped
- 4 stalks celery chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 4 quarts Shrimp / Crab Stock click for full recipe
- ⅔ cup Crystal Hot Sauce
- ⅔ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Creole/Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp 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 tbsp filé powder
- 2 lbs shrimp medium, peeled and deveined
- 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.