With fresh okra and tomatoes and just about any type of meat available, anyone can make a tasty gumbo. I chose to make shrimp gumbo since seafood in a nice tomato sauce or soup tends to taste good any season, whether its warm or cool outside.
This seafood gumbo has the consistency of a slightly thickened tomato soup with simple ingredients - peeled tomatoes, chopped okra, shrimp and garlic - added to a small roux and allowed to simmer until the okra is tender.
Interesting enough, gumbo is the word used for okra, which is said to have originated in Western Africa. Researchers say the word “gumbo is a "corrupted version" of the African word "quillobo," according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Here's what you'll need to make this delicious gumbo:
12 ounces of frozen or fresh shrimp - peeled
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of water
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of sliced okra
8 ounces of peeled tomatoes and juices
(canned or fresh)
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
2 cloves of garlic minced
Rice (cooked according to instructions)
In a three-quart saucepan, stir together on medium heat your olive oil and flour until they mix and no lumps appear. Allow the two ingredients to cook until they appear a caramel color - now your roux is ready to aid the consistency and add color to the gumbo.
Pour in the chicken broth, water and canned tomatoes. Now if you used canned tomatoes, you may want to reduce the amount of Old Bay seasoning you use. If you use freshly peeled tomatoes, you may want to add more seasoning based on your tastes. I've used home canned Sweet Treats pink cherry tomatoes - a larger cherry tomato - that had salt added to them in the canning process.
Add the okra, garlic and seasoning, and stir the gumbo, allowing it to cook for about 15-20 minutes until the okra is tender.
At this point, add the shrimp. You'll want to add this last to prevent overcooking - the shrimp will cook quickly if fresh, so watch the mixture, checking for that nice fresh white, cooked shrimp color.
Once the shrimp has cooked, the gumbo's ready. To serve, you can mix cooked rice in a bowl of the gumbo, or serve the gumbo on top of the rice. For a Southern-style meal, serve the shrimp gumbo with corn bread or biscuits and enjoy.
- Bobbie Whitehead