Seafood Gumbo

seafood gumbo recipe

With vacation season upon us I am missing Florida!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my home state of Georgia, but the warmer weather has me longing for long walks on the white sandy beaches and fresh seafood.  After a recent visit to the Gulf coast, I have had a craving for seafood gumbo. Fortunately, my freezer was stocked with most everything I needed. This gumbo is loaded with succulent shrimp, oysters, crab and crawfish. Crawfish are freshwater shellfish that are commonly raised in freshwater ponds.  However, you will find them listed under seafood at most restaurants.  If you don’t care for crawfish, you can replace them with additional oysters, crab, or shrimp if you prefer.

This gumbo has a kick to it; if you are sensitive to heat you may wish to adjust the seasonings to your taste. I like my gumbo slightly thick and usually have extra filé to have on hand, just in case I need it. It is best to add the seafood about 20 minutes before serving, as to avoid overcooking. Serve your gumbo over steamed rice with plenty of garlic bread.

Seafood Gumbo
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. diced yellow onion
  • 1 c. celery
  • 1 c. diced green bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 c. chopped green onions, divided
  • 1½ gallons water
  • ½ lb. fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 (10-oz.) can Rotel
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ c. Old Bay Seasoning
  • Louisiana hot sauce, to taste
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2½ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (70 to 90 ct.)
  • 1 lb. crab meat
  • 1 pint fresh oysters
  • 2 to 3 oz. Pure Ground Gumbo File
  1. Make a roux in a large heavy pot over medium heat: Add oil to pot and heat over medium heat, add flour, it will sizzle when it's at the correct temperature. Use a whisk and stir constantly. Stir until it reaches the color of peanut butter. DO NOT BURN!!
  2. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and ½ c. green onions. Cook until ingredients are cooked down.
  3. Add water, okra, Rotel, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer at least 1 hour. Add seafood and continue to cook on medium for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Taste for seasoning. Add file to thicken.
  5. Stir in remaining green onions and simmer a few more minutes. Serve over rice in bowls.



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Missy’s Fried Okra Salad

A friend recently shared what I thought was a very unusual recipe for Fried Okra Salad.   I’ve lived in the south all of my life and had never heard of such a thing.  I was instantly intrigued and knew I had to give it a try.  After all, she assured me that she has to share the recipe whenever she takes it out.

Last week I had a “recipe testing” day.  There were three recipes I wanted to try and I started with the Okra Salad first thing.  I had planned to have a bite and then take a big bowl up to my friends at the bank.  However, my friends at the bank never got to try it!  It was so delicious that I had a big bowl and then went back for seconds.  It was my breakfast and my lunch that day.  Obviously, I don’t need to be having recipe testing days often!

Missy's Fried Okra Salad
  • 2 (12-oz.) bags freshly frozen breaded okra
  • 8 sliced bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • dash hot sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Fry the okra as directed on the package, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl add the crumbled bacon, grape tomatoes, and green onions. Add the fried and drained okra and set aside.
  3. In a small jar add vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine. Just before serving drizzle the dressing over the okra mixture. Toss to coat and serve.
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Easy Chicken Gumbo

Next Tuesday, March 4, 2014,  is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.  I think most of us usually associate Mardi Gras with the rowdy celebrations on Bourbon Street.  However, it actually began as a Christian holiday thousands of years ago in Europe and the first celebrations in the US were in Mobile, Alabama.   It is the day of feasting before Lent begins.  I do not typically fast during Lent, but I do take the opportunity during Mardi Gras to cook some scrumptious Cajun food.  If you have visited Louisiana you know first hand that their food, and their way of cooking, is spectacular!

I was not exposed to a wide variety of Cajun food until I moved to the Gulf coast.  However, while living there we ate our way across Louisiana and I fell in love with their cuisine!  I now have several recipes that I cook often.  Most of those recipes take hours to prepare and cook.  This recipe, on the other hand, is fast and delicious!  This is made possible, in part, because of the 5-minute roux.   When making the 5-minute roux the peanut oil withstands the high heat without burning, vegetable oil with not work.  For super fast preparation pick up a rotisserie chicken and don’t forget the beads while you’re out!


Easy Chicken Gumbo
  • ½ lb. andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • Peanut oil
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1½ to 3 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
  • 4 c. chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 c. frozen cut okra
  • Hot cooked jasmine rice
  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook sausage for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; drain and set aside.
  2. Add enough oil to drippings in Dutch oven to equal ½ cup. Whisk in flour and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until flour is chocolate-colored, whisking constantly. (Do not burn mixture!)
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in onion, celery, bell pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in chicken broth, bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage, chicken, and okra; simmer, covered 5 minutes. Serve with hot cooked rice and French bread.
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My Favorite Posts for 2013

It’s hard to believe that another year has almost passed us by.  It’s been a pretty good year here in Southeast Georgia and we have much to be thankful for.  I started the year off a little slow after my surgery last January and overall didn’t have as many post for 2013 as I did in 2012 or 2011.  I think maybe I’m a little pickier with the recipes that go on NJSD than I have ever been.  I also started a new venture in 2013, writing a weekly column for the Courier Herald newspaper in Dublin, Ga.  I love the opportunity to reach people that may not have a computer to read my blog.  As we approach a new year I wanted to look back at my favorite post from 2013.  It was hard to narrow my favorites to 10, but after much consideration this is my list, from oldest post to newest post.

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Church Ladies Vegetable Soup

Before I begin, I would like to apologize to those of you who subscribe and get email notifications of my blog posts.  My last post of Black Bean Soup was written after two nights of very little sleep!  I was exhausted, as I’m sure you could tell, in the first draft of my post.  I don’t claim to be the authority of good grammar anyway, but that was just bad.  I have since gone back and made changes, but to those of you who saw the original…I am sorry!

Our garden is giving us an endless supply of okra and tomatoes right now.  I’ve thrown out more tomatoes than I care to mention simply because we haven’t been able to eat, or give away, as many as we’re getting.  I decided to do as my mother use to do, and my mother-in-law still does, and make vegetable soup for the freezer.  Vegetable soup is a great way to use up the abundance of garden veggies and an easy meal on the table during the cold winter months.  I ate countless bowls when I was growing up.

I couldn’t get in touch with my 24-hour advice gurus, my mom and mother-in-law, so I started searching my hundreds of cookbooks for some help.  I found three, somewhat similar recipes in a few very old church cookbooks.  I combined the three, and made a few changes, to come up with what I think is a hit.  I didn’t have enough garden tomatoes so I topped off my fresh tomatoes with canned whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped.  I questioned the addition of vinegar, but it was in all three recipes so I decided the church ladies probably knew best.  I didn’t add as much as their recipes called for but I’m not going to mess with my results because I’m happy.  A tip I learned from my mother-in-law is to leave the salt out of anything you are going to freeze.  Salt and other spices will intensify while frozen, so it’s best to add seasonings when the food has been thawed and reheated.

When I take this soup out of the freezer I can add browned and drained ground beef or cooked and shredded chicken if I want a change.  Just add crackers or better yet, homemade cornbread, and you’ve got a delicious meal!

Oh, and one last note.  I thought it was appropriate to use my grandmother’s and my mother’s vintage aprons in my picture today.  I can just imagine them wearing these as they were canning or preserving foods for their families years ago.


Church Ladies Vegetable Soup
Serves: 12 qts.
  • 2 gallons tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 10 ears corn or 3 (20-oz.) pkg. frozen creamed corn
  • ¼ c. chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium to large onions, chopped
  • 1½ c. sliced okra
  • 2 - 3 c. butter beans or lima beans
  • ½ c. white vinegar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook at a slow boil for 30 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching. Cool, ladle into freezer containers and freeze.
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