Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I will never forget the first time I made this gumbo. We had been married maybe a little over a year and my father-in-law came to visit us. We were living in Biloxi, MS. 

Mr. Ronda loved "Cajun" food. After moving to LA, he could talk just like a native Cajun. So of course, I decided to make gumbo for him and my husband. I had gotten the recipe from the wife of a fellow serviceman of my husband's at Keesler AFB. 

I had to buy most of the ingredients for it as they were not normal things I had in my kitchen. This included a big bottle of Tabasco sauce. In Pat's recipe she had just listed Tabasco with no specific amount. Even back then, I liked to know specifics - amounts, cooking time, cooking temperature, etc. Anyway, when I was adding the Tabasco, I was trying to pour some in a measuring spoon. Well, it wasn't easy. So I just took the bottle, turned it upside down, and shook it a couple of times. By the time I was through shaking, I had "emptied" the neck of the bottle of sauce. Since I didn't plan to eat it, I didn't taste it while I was cooking it. (I still don't taste test even if it is something I will be eating.)

Dinner was served and I set big bowls of the gumbo in front of my husband and his daddy. (I was so wanting to make a good impression on my fil.) Wasn't too long before Mr. Ronda was asking for additional napkins. I can still see him at the table mopping his brown and saying, "It sure is good, but it sure is HOT."

When we were visiting with my uncle J. D. and Aunt Virginia last week, my husband and my uncle went to J. D. 's garden and picked some squash and okra. They came back with a 5 gallon bucket full of mostly okra. Aunt Virginia was desperately trying to give some of it away. I don't personally eat okra but I know my husband likes it, so I agreed to take some. Secretly, I was thinking I would make some of the gumbo for my husband. About 40 years later....I figured it was about time. The only thing he said when I told him was, "Good, just don't use as much Tabasco this time." (We enjoyed a good laugh and sharing a good memory of his daddy.)


2       tablespoons lard (I used shortening)
2       tablespoons flour
2       medium onions, finely chopped
1        green pepper, finely chopped
2       no. 2 cans tomatoes (a no. 2 can is 20 ounces)
1        lb. okra, sliced
1        lb. raw shrimp
8 - 12 crabs cleaned or 1 lb. crab meat
1         teaspoon salt (needs more)
black and red pepper
(3 - 4  cubes fish bullion)
(2       tablespoons cornstarch - add until thick enough)

Make a golden roux out of the lard and flour. (Heat, stirring, in a large skillet over medium heat until mixture turns brown.)

Stir in the onion, celery, and green pepper and simmer a few minutes stirring constantly.

Add tomatoes and okra
and simmer until okra is tender. (I cooked it about 30 minutes covered.)

Place in large soup pot and add shrimp, cab, and 3 quarts of water. Add seasoning 
and cook slowly over low fire for several hours. (the longer the better) (I had to separate mine into two large pots with lids as I didn't have a pot big enough.)

Serve over steaming hot rice. (Before serving, add the cornstarch and heat until liquid thickens some.)

You can read how I cooked the rice here.

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