Monday, April 4, 2011

Okra Gumbo

There's a lot of ways to make Gumbo.

The three ways that I know of are--with filé powder, with a roux, and with okra.

Our family makes it with okra.

My mother's father, who we called Norwalk Jichan, was the cook in their family, and loved okra, so my mother cooked with it too.

As do I.

As well as my kids.

Family tradition.

We always have it served over rice.

It's fast and easy to make.

You can make it with a lot of meats like this one, or with just one.

Or none.

This is what I used:

One chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 handfulls of frozen shrimp
1 piece of linguiça sausage, sliced
about 5 slices of bacon, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
2 packages fresh okra
2 cans stewed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend
1/2 cup sake or other wine

Chop the vegetables and garlic and set aside.

Cut up the meats.

Set the shrimp aside for last, 5 minutes before serving.

Put the meats in a hot pan.

When the fat begins to be released from the meat, you can stir it, and remove the chicken and sausage when they begin to brown.

Cook the bacon to the way you like it.

When the bacon gets browned, but not crispy, add the onion, pepper, celery and garlic.

Cook over medium high heat until the vegetables gain some color.

Drain the juice from the tomatoes into the pot with the vegetables chop the large pieces of tomato.

Give them a rough chop so they're still chunky but not too big.

Add about a 1/2 cup of sake or any wine you like.

Add enough water to cover the vegetables by an inch or two, depending on how soupy you like it.

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot.

I like to use this Cajun Creole Seasoning by The Spice Hunter.

There are a lot of other Cajon Creole seasonings out there, and I've tried a lot of them, but the others are filled with salt and make the gumbo too salty for me.

Add the seasoning to taste.

I use two tablespoons.

Wash and chop the okra.

Once you add the okra, you will notice that the broth will immediately thicken.

Stir until well combined.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so, so the flavors blend.

Five minutes before you're ready to serve, add the shrimp.

As soon as they turn pink and are curled, the shrimp are done.

Serve over rice.

Bon appétit!


Today's my niece's birthday.

Her name is Hayley, but we don't call her that.

She's got a lot of family nicknames.

She's got many faces, too.





We hope we don't see that one too often.

She's got two older brothers.

She's a lot of fun.

I mean a LOT of fun, as you can see.

She comes over early every Thanksgiving with Rick and they help cook.

Deviled eggs and spam musubi are their specialty.

She came over for a late-into-the night sewing session a couple of years ago with the new sewing machine she got for Christmas.

We made a pillow out of her favorite t-shirt, one that she loved but grew out of.

She plays soccer.

It seems like she went from this little girl...

To this one, overnight.

Now she plays soccer in high school.

And she loves Dixie.

They grew up together.

When she was about this old, or maybe a little younger, she got really mad at me.

I let her chew gum at my house with the rule that it must be wrapped in paper to be thrown away. If I find it stuck to something, anything, it gets taken away.

Well, as you can guess, I found it stuck somewhere, not wrapped in paper and took the gum away from her.

This little girl loves candy.

She proceeded to throw a tantrum, something that isn't too unusual for kids to do, especially at that age.

She screamed and cried and carried on for about a half-hour, until eventually she fell asleep in my arms.

What I'm grateful for are her parents.

Her parents were there, too, and they allowed us to work it out between ourselves, just the two of us.

It's very difficult to see your child--especially this precious child--mad, crying and carrying-on, without stepping in to comfort them and take them away from the situation.

I'm so grateful they allowed me to have my own relationship with each of their children.

All three of the Welmon kids are as precious to me as my own children.

Happy Birthday, 


I love you bunches.

No printable recipe for this one yet.


  1. Yummy, okra is one of my favorite veggies.

    Love hearing about your niece. She does look like a lot of fun and very pretty, too.

    Happy Birthday, Hayley!

  2. Yum & Awww! (that's for the recipe & the story) :)

  3. Mmm, I love okra! Fried okra, boiled with tomatoes and bacon okra, and oOo, shrimp gumbo! LOL, I just can't order gumbo in restaurants since I'm such a wimp when it comes to spicy things...

    Great story, too. Haley is so lucky to have you as an aunt! ♫ ♪ Happy Birthday, Haley Emiko! ♪ ♫ (That's LeighAnn's middle name, too!) Haha, with you listing all her "names" it reminds me of "Tiki tiki tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo"!!!

  4. Awww, happy birthday to your daughter!

    The okra looks really good...I've only tried it fried.

  5. dear foodji
    My little girl...15!!! where did all the time go??

    For her birthday dinner she requested Karen's Chicken and Dumpling Soup! So I logged on the Foojimoto and found the happy teenager!!
    Thank you for always being there for me...and my kids:)

  6. As a veteran gumbo cook, I use roux, gumbo file AND okra. I believe there's a certain improvisational, ad lib style that is acceptable.

    If you're ever in the mood, add some flour to the fat rendered from your meats and cook that slowly to make a chocolate (colored) roux. Cook your vegetables in THAT and proceed. I think you'll like it.

    Finally, while matters of the world don't hang on it, the word "gumbo" is African for okra so calling the dish "okra gumbo" is like calling it "Okra Okra". Nothing wrong with that, mind you but with such a beautiful preparation, I thought you'd like to know.

  7. I loved the simplicity of your recipe. Mine is simmering away on the stove right now! I added a little thyme and 2 bay leaves just because that's the way I'd had it as a child, but the style of your recipe presentation really appealed to me. Thank you so much!