When I first created this blog almost a year (eek!) ago, what I was the most excited about was to get super adventurous in the kitchen. Instead of cooking the same thing over and over again, I would be forced to make something new and blog-worthy every few days, discovering tons of new recipes and flavor combinations. While this has certainly been the case, sometimes I forget about the things that I used to cook <b>before</b> the blog came about. This gumbo is one of those meals we would put together now and again and it was always delicious. I haven’t made it in ages and somehow it came to mind the other day and it was as delicious as I remember it this time around.
This was actually supposed to be out Saturday night dinner, but by the time we got home from the grocery store, it was too dark to take any photos. My ever-so-kind boyfriend suggested that we make this another night so that I could share it with you guys here! So, Sunday morning rolled around and I got to making this gumbo.
I don’t know how I could have forgotten about this for so long. What reminded me of the recipe, funnily enough, was the hardest ingredient to get a hold of. I saw some fresh okra at the store and this dish immediately popped into my head. If you have never had okra before, it’s a very interesting vegetable. As it cooks it actually releases goo (Wikipedia tells me that the scientific word for plants that produce goo is “mucilaginous”). This probably sounds disgusting, but don’t let it turn you off- the goo dissolves completely as the okra cooks in the gumbo and you’re left with a deliciously tender, mild tasting vegetable. Personally, I have only ever used okra in gumbo, but I think that my okra adventures have to expand. I’ve had fried okra before (which is amazing) but it’s also used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian and Pakistani cuisine- there’s a lot of research to be done! If you can’t find fresh okra, frozen is just fine. If you can’t find it at your regular supermarket try an Asian or Middle Eastern specialty store.
Generally, this recipe is killer. You’ll end up with a pretty loose ‘gumbo’. I know that means a lot of different things to different people, so please just think of this version as one of many. It’s pleasingly spicy, has a bunch of lovely textures from the vegetables and some heartiness from the shrimp (or other seafood that you may choose to include). I like serving it over a bit of rice (but not too much) and while it is definitely meant to be served hot, I can’t help but sneak a few bites straight from the fridge when I am feeling a little bit hungry.
- 4 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
- 250g okra, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (see below)
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1 ½ teaspoon cayenne (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- In a large pot, heat up 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Fry okra until they start to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Make your roux: Over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil, butter and flour to the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon constantly until the mixture smells nutty and turns a medium-shade of brown (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add red pepper, green pepper, yellow onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pot and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Make sure you keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot so the flour mixture doesn’t burn.
- If you are making your own Cajun seasoning blend, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Add Cajun seasoning and cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Add bay leaves and stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook until cooked through.
Gumbo Recipe was last modified: April 21, 2014 by