There are basically two variations of Cajun Shrimp and Okra gumbo; the Cajun Shrimp and Okra kind and the creole Shrimp and Okra kind. There is a big difference between how each gumbo looks and also how they taste. So if you’ve been to New Orleans and said you ate gumbo, you didn’t eat a good Cajun Shrimp and Okra gumbo. Then specifically, you didn’t eat my Grand Ma Cottin’s Okra Gumbo. I personally never made Okra gumbo for the simple fact that Grand Ma Cottins gumbo was the best… seriously. When she passed, my mother kept the traditional going with the same recipe. I can’t lie… My little Aunt Sharlette, helped me remember the recipe so that it was just right; she makes this same recipe today exactly and perfectly like Grand Ma Cottin. SMILE!!!
The primary difference in both variations of Shrimp and Okra gumbos is the texture and the creole gumbo one has more tomatoes. The creole gumbo has chunks of okra and the other vegetables are cut larger and they are crunchy. In the Cajun gumbo, the okra is smothered down prior to adding it to the gumbo. Because the okra is
smothered down to the point the okra comes totally apart, it removes most of the slimy stuff.
Okra serves two purposes; for taste and as a thickener. I usually smother the okra in bacon grease prior to adding it to the gumbo and boy does that make the okra pop with flavor. It is not uncommon to add the smothered okra directly over white rice as another kind of dish or just as a vegetable side!
Ingredients For Making Cajun Shrimp and Okra Gumbo:
- 6 strips of bacon
- 4 lbs frozen okra, cut and thawed
- 2 cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Chilis
- 3 lb small shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 3 quarts seafood stock
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1⁄8 cup diced or minced garlic
- 1⁄2 lb sliced andouille sausage
- 3/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Kitchen Bouqett
- Redmond Real Salt (Sea Salt)
- Benoits Cajun Seasoning
- Cooked Rice
Directions For the okra
- Fry bacon until crispy.
- Remove the bacon and set aside.
- Then Add the uncooked chopped okra to the bacon drippings and saute down for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook on a medium heat
- Add Rotel Tomatoes (including the juice) and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
Directions For the Cajun Shrimp and Okra gumbo
- In a gumbo pot add the chopped onions, bell pepper, garlic and celery. Saute till the vegetables are transparent and soft on medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes
- Add the seafood stock listed above slowly.
- Heat on medium-high heat until mixture is heated (not boiling).
- Add the sauteed okra mixture.
- Stir well until all the ingredients are mixed well together.
- Add the seasoning listed above.
- Stir well, and bring to a simmer. Allow the gumbo to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, continuing to allow the gumbo to simmer.
- Taste for seasoning and thickness. Make adjustments as necessary.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet for coloring
- Add shrimp about 10 minutes before serving
- Once the shrimp are cooked, you are ready to eat!
- Serve gumbo cooked white over rice in an bowl. Also have chopped parsley and chopped green onions available to add to individual bowls OR sprinkle it on the top of your gumbo.
When cooking most Cajun dishes, it’s all about the flavors; it begins usually with our Cajun Holy trinity melody of SAUTEED onions, bell pepper and celery. The trick to making this melody perfect is to saute it in either butter or olive oil (depending on the dish) on a low heat. You want to end up with your vegetables transparent and not crunchy. Your dish will not taste the way it should if your melody of vegetables are crunchy.
The next tip is to use a Cajun seasoning that does not have salt in it. This allows you to add as much of the spices and herbs from the seasoning you want while having full control over the salt content. I use Benoits Cajun Seasoning and Redmond Real Salt (Sea Salt) for that reason.
More recipes from the Louisiana Cajun Mansion Bed & Breakfast.