In Case You Missed Mardi Gras: Shrimp Gumbo with Crispy Okra

It’s Mardi Gras season—so we’re giving New Orleans cuisine a much-deserved nod. This hearty gumbo puts shrimp front and center alongside thinly sliced, fried okra, then serves the rich stew atop a bed of steaming rice. (No matter your proximity to NoLa, it’ll be a party in your kitchen when you cook up this cozy dish with a kick.)

– Okra can seem slimy when sliced, which is completely normal! Its texture changes when fried.
– Toasting flour in fat creates a nutty, thickening roux. The raw flour taste is fully cooked out before any liquid is added to the pot.

¾ cup jasmine rice
8 ounces shrimp
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 green bell pepper
1 celery stalk
4 okra pods
1 yellow onion
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
½ tablespoon tomato paste
⅓ cup flour, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil
3¼ cups water
kosher salt
black pepper
6″ small pot with lid
8″ medium pot
8″ small pan


Cook Rice:

In a small pot, combine rice, 1¼ cups water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until water is fully evaporated, 10-12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare Ingredients:

While rice cooks, pat shrimp dry with paper towel and place on a plate. Season all over with half of spice mix and ½ teaspoon salt, then set aside. Rinse all produce. Halve bell pepper lengthwise, discarding seeds, then cut into ½-inch dice. Halve celery lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Cut okra crosswise into ½-inch rings (see Recipe Tip). Peel onion, halve, and mince. Drain diced tomatoes, discarding juices.

Cook Shrimp and Aromatics:

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium pot over medium heat. When butter is foamy, add shrimp and cook until opaque and just pink, 2-3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a new plate. Discard any liquid in pot, then add remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add whole garlic cloves, bell pepper, celery, onion, and remaining spice mix. Cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, about 1 minute more.

Simmer Gumbo:

Whisk 2 tablespoons flour into pot with aromatics over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until flour is lightly browned, about 3 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Add diced tomatoes and 2 cups water. Whisk vigorously until flour is fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then return heat to medium and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.

Fry Okra:

While gumbo simmers, place remaining flour on a small plate. Pat okra dry with paper towel and toss in flour, pressing to adhere. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small pan over medium high. When oil is shimmering, take 1 slice okra, shake off excess flour, and add to pan. If it sizzles immediately, keep going; if not, try again once the oil is hotter. Fry okra until golden, 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towellined plate and season with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Finish and Plate Gumbo:

Remove and discard whole garlic cloves from gumbo and reduce heat under pot to medium low. Stir shrimp into gumbo to warm through, 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt and black pepper as desired. Serve shrimp gumbo over rice and garnish with crispy okra. Dig in!

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