Ingredients marked with * have been added by me; leave those out for Grandma’s original recipe. This recipe will fill a good-sized stock pot and feed a hungry extended family alongside a big pot of white rice.
- **1 stick of butter (Grandma used Crisco)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 onions, chopped or diced
- **one bunch of celery, chopped or diced
- **2 green peppers, chopped or diced
- **6 cloves garlic, minced (I use the bulk minced garlic in a jar)
- **2 cans of chicken broth
- 2 lbs frozen cut okra
- 2 15-oz (or 4 smaller) cans crab meat, undrained
- salt and pepper
- **2 Tbsp Creole seasoning
- **hot sauce
- 4 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Using the butter and flour, make a good dark country roux. Toss in the onions as soon as the roux is ready; this will stop the browning. Add the celery, peppers, and garlic. Saute the veggies and roux until the veggies are nice and soft. Add the chicken broth, then enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Pan-fry the okra in a little butter or oil until it gets nice and gooey and stringy and falling apart. Don’t undercook the okra, or your gumbo will have an entirely different consistency! Once the okra is well done, add it to the gumbo pot, making sure to scrape as much of the goo as possible out of the pan. Add more water to cover, if necessary, and bring back to a simmer.
Dump in the crab meat, juice and all (but not the paper strips that tend to be in the cans!). Add a good dollop of ketchup, 2 or 3 seconds worth from a squeeze bottle. Add the hot sauce, Creole seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, you’re ready to simmer away for as long as you want, whether it’s 30 minutes or 3 hours. Keep enough water in the pot to cover the ingredients, topping it off as necessary. Just before you’re ready to serve, toss in the shrimp and bring it back to a boil. Cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes, until they are just pink.
Serve over fresh white rice.