Just for Fun, Shrimp Gumbo, recipe

+4 votes
Another Profile Manager and I have been talking about Shrimp Gumbo, and our memories -- her father made it, my father made, and both she and I have in times past made it trying to follow what we recalled about our fathers' recipe ... gotta have okra, rice, shrimp, onions, spicy crushed tomatoes, black pepper  ... her father used sweet peppers but mine did not ...

So, just for fun, for a real down-home style Shrimp Gumbo, what are the ingredients ? How many of you recall it being made in your home? Who was the chef?

EDITED: removed PM name
in The Tree House by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (589k points)
edited by Susan Smith
Why is this flagged? It is titled "Just for Fun" and there is nothing offensive in the post. I can certainly list ingredients for gumbo as my husband is a French and Acadian descendant but would like a clarification on the flag.

It may have been flagged (and given a downvote) because someone else's name was originally included in the post (I did not see it, but do see Susan's edit).  As the other person is an active Wikitree member, it seems to be taking things to an extreme regards the stricture to not discuss the living (if that was the reason for the flag and the downvote).

Food is part of our cultural heritage and a good clue as to where some of our ancestors came from as there are regional versions of popular recipes.   Recipes have helped me track down some elusive ancestors.  We just had a discussion about this in the Germany Project.  It might be just for fun here , but there are some genealogical benefits to looking at regional recipe variances.   BBQ is an example.  Shrimp Gumbo is today associated with Louisiana and is thought as a purely Acadian dish but it has roots in other parts of the world.



Adding a note.  You may want to do an internet query for French Shrimp Stew because you will find some similar ones using some similar ingredients.  Louisiana cooking is a mix of French, Native American, and African influences.    

Thank you, Laura, for the links - good reading! And, you are so right about paying attention to food for clues on family heritage! Just recently I used something said in an interview with one of my 2x great-grandmother's descendants to solidify a suspicion I had about her heritage. Still working on it but food brought it to the forefront!
I love this! Thank you.
There have been a lot of flags of benign posts today Virginia; I suspect a new Treer who doesn't undertand the purpose of the flag.
We just helped a German Project member narrow where to look because of a family recipe.  Food is a big part of every family and recipes come down sometimes for decades if not centuries.  So they are a great and under used genealogical tool.

I was the "other WikiTreer" mentioned when Susan made her initial post. I have no objection to Susan mentioning me by name. Susan and I had a conversation yesterday by email about gumbo-making which was prompted by a request from my nephew for my daddy's recipe. Daddy didn't cook from "recipes." He was a "from-scratch" cook who learned so much from his mother, learned even more when he was a Mess Sergeant during the Korean War, then honed what he'd learned by cooking often at home and cooking often for community fund-raising and other events at church, for the volunteer fire department, for the local school, and for his Masonic Lodge. Below is a photograph of my daddy during one of those events. He is the man reaching his arms out over the vat filled with hot cooking oil. 

My misfortune is not taking the time to observe my daddy carefully and learn from him. I should have recorded ingredients and approximate amounts since I am not adept at "from scratch" cooking without a recipe. I advise all of you who still have parents or other relatives who are good cooks to make that time and effort. I very much appreciate all who have shared here with their memories of and recipes for gumbo and other things. 

Love the photo, Nelda! Reminiscent of my years living in South Louisiana.  All those 50 pound sacks of crawfish for neighborhood boils!!  Yum!

Covid 19 turned upside down just about everything familiar 

I was looking in my cupboards and pantry ... got to craving fish of any kind ... humph. I don't think a can of minestrone is going to make my day 

Well, says Sig O, the price of online canned salmon doubled and headed for triples and online tuna became catch as catch can and them as had it were rationing it, and I bought (he said) what I could ... so we have to ration it ... 

All part of the joys of Senior Citizens Lockdown and online shopping when there is a pandemic gnawing at your heels and the stores don't know whether they'll be open next week or not and will they have any employees? 

So, what we see here today is that there IS a Gumbo with some "slight" differences in ingredients .. barring of course those who don't want shrimp in it or okra or Cajun seasoning 

I will say that using tomatoes or NOT using tomatoes is not a SLIGHT difference, because it really does affect the taste of the gumbo and probably the use of sweet peppers or not also affects the taste 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil%C3%A9_powder  basically the power does not have other ingredients added to it and no bark is allowed leaves only.  The carcinogenic part of the tree is the bark.   Some commercial brands add oregano, thyme, or other ingredients but those are not true to the original recipes used in gumbo.  You use a lot less powder than you do okra.  The powder was used originally as a replacement or when okra was out of season but some people liked the earthy taste it gave so some just preferred it.  If you boil okra it creates an oil slick so it should be simmered not boiled.  And the powder should not be subjected to high heat either it gets added just before serving.  

Roux if mainly flour and butter or meat fat.  It varies in taste depending on what fat you select.  A darker roux is obtained by whisking it while it simmers for a longer time period.  Blond roux is made in about a minute where a roux darkens more and more as it cooks.  

Hope that helps.

I love to see candid shots of parents and other relatives, more fun than the posed ones at a studio or on the couch or the front porch or wherever when you say line up close up and say cheese ...

the candid ones show them in a moment where they are "living their life" sort of thing ... here we see him in an activity he's done before, is doing, will do again and he knows what he's doing

1 Answer

+7 votes
Best answer
For South Louisiana Gumbo - first you make a roux - deep chocolate brown roux. Then add the holy trinity: chopped onions, celery, bell pepper and a hefty dose of chopped garlic. Add a bit of Cajun seasoning of your choice and a dollop of Tabasco. Add sausage and then add water and let this cook down for a while. Add shrimp and other seafood as desired and cook until seafood is done.

You can add okra while cooking down the seasonings or can wait and use File as served over rice. My mother-in-law did not add tomatoes with seafood gumbo and neither do I.

You will notice I did not give amounts of ingredients - neither did my mother-in-law; I just watched what she did and experimented on my own!!
by Virginia Fields G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
selected by Susan Smith

Ah, Virginia, I read that and weep crying from nostalgia, the recipe you share is very close to what my daddy did ... the other PM mentioned her daddy used bacon grease to saute the fresh veggies ... 

I know my daddy used bacon grease to make biscuits and pancakes and waffles, but was more like to use butter to saute veggies -- I never thought to ask him why ... 

Susan, maybe because the bacon grease is absorbed into the bread items but not so much into the veggies. It leaves them a bit on the greasy side so butter is the better choice there. Just a thought! Remember when everyone had a grease container sitting on the stove or nearby to collect all that bacon grease? At least in the South!!
We had something similar -  to keep the meat "drippings".  (You could also buy commercial dripping, but no housewife worth her apron would buy her dripping.  (NOT my saying, but from my mother's generation, and likely from HER Grandmother, so please don't jump on me for stereotyping, or being non-pc, or whatever.)

When doing a roast (which was really baking the meat - just ask the historians and archaeologists who did the "Farm" series!), Mum would pour the majority of the juices, aka drippings, into the dripping can, then add flour and water to the rest to make gravy.  She may also have done the same with bacon drippings, I don't remember.
When I was little (which is probably several years earlier than most members), it was during and shortly after World War II.  My mother collected bacon (and other fat) drippings and used to take her can of them to the butcher, who collected these to be used to make soap.  I remember thinking that it was somehow related to rationing - I think sugar was among rationed items at the time, but my memory of all this is very vague.  The only other war related thing I remember was that my mother was always knitting every time she sat down (which wasn't too often).  She made socks to send to soldiers.
Virginia, Melanie,

Yes!  My folks had the can to put the meat drippings in, including the bacon, but it was mostly bacon dippings ...

And I think the idea it might be the results for the veggies as to whether one uses the bacon / fat drippings or the butter is the correct idea behind what Papa did ... dang he was a Good Cook ...

Gaile, yes, the rationing, shortages State side since just about anything that could be was used for the War Effort or sent to feed the troops --  Mama was working in the shipyards

I have heard of people using tomato paste in their gumbo, but papa used crushed tomatoes, and when I was making it years later, I used spicy crushed tomatoes ... never thought to ask him why he used tomatoes .. for the taste, obviously?
Ah, beef dripping! We always managed a joint on Sunday, somehow but it was always beef which was cheapest and potatoes were always roasted "round the meat". Mother never used the dripping to make gravy which she never served. But the dripping was really useful. Bread and dripping for tea, wonderful, with all the salty, beefy sediment and the jelly. The fat substituted for butter. Eggs and fried bread done in beef dripping, when there were eggs. If enough dripping came off the joint it could be used to make pastry. Hubby came from a posher family and never had it. Nowadays I pour off the fat and use the sediment to make gravy.

I could easily be mis-remembering about the bacon grease. It's been forty years since I tried to make gumbo myself (which ended very painfully with a severe burn) and twenty years since I had my daddy's shrimp gumbo. I don't make it myself because my husband doesn't like shrimp. 

My daddy made shrimp gumbo occasionally through the year, but it was our traditional Christmas Eve meal. I do know it had abundant shrimp (but no sausage or chicken), occasionally had crab meat, and definitely had okra, the "holy trinity," and a rich brown roux. I think he included some tomato, but I wouldn't swear that was true. It had a bit of a kick from the seasoning, but wouldn't scorch your tonsils going down. 

I asked one of my Louisiana friends for her recipe yesterday and it had no okra or tomatoes. Personally, I consider the okra an essential ingredient, but I know some people don't care for okra. I looked up recipes on Southern Living this afternoon and found a recipe which sounded similar to what I remember my daddy making (which, Virginia, is similar to what you described in your post.) 

All this discussion has me craving some good shrimp gumbo. It is not easily found here in north Georgia. We do have a "Cajun Depot" restaurant in town, but I've never tried their shrimp gumbo. (We don't go to that restaurant because of my picky-eater husband.) We also have a nice little seafood shop/restaurant but I don't know if they are open right now. It's very small and they may not be able to meet the Covid-19 guidelines. I've had their gumbo because we usually go there on my birthday but not this year because of Covid-19. Their gumbo is good, but not as good as my daddy's. 

Susan, thank you for the best answer star!! This was a fun post!!

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