Shrimp Okra Gumbo

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Ingredients:

1 pound medium raw shrimp
cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
I small green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes, cut-up, undrained
teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground red pepper
2 bay leaves (Turkish or other)
8 ounces fresh or frozen okra
5 cups hot cooked rice
fresh herb sprig for garnish

Preparation:

1. To peel shrimp, remove the legs by gently pulling them off the shell. Loosen shell with fingers, then slide off.

2. To devein shrimp, with paring knife cut a shallow slit along back of shrimp. Lift out vein. (You may find this easier to do under cold running water.) Refrigerate until needed.

3. To make a roux, cook and stir 1/4 cup oil and flour together in medium saucepan over medium-low to low heat 20 minutes or until mixture is a tannish-brown color; set aside.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion bell pepper and garlic until vegetables are crisp-tender.

5. Stir in water, tomatoes with liquid, thyme, salt, red pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.

6. Wash okra; cut into 1/4-inch slices.

7. Stir roux and okra into tomato mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Add shrimp to gumbo and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and opaque. Discard bay leaf. Serve gumbo over cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.

Makes 5 servings.

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