Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Timeless Creole Okra
Chef Meg Bickford, formerly of Café Adelaide (now closed) 

“The gumbo we make here at Café Adelaide is really, really rich, dark seafood gumbo. There’s a lot of flavor. A very dark roux brings out this unbelievably complex flavor. You get richness and nuttiness from the roux, and sweetness from the Louisiana shrimp. We also make a shellfish stock for the gumbo, so it’s got intense seafood flavor. The okra in there is mild, but it adds a beautiful texture and flavor and uniqueness to the gumbo. You can cook okra a million different ways, you can roast it, you can fry it, but it adds texture and a nice subtle flavor that pulls the sweetness and the richness and the spice together and mellows it out.”

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Serves 12
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  1. 1 cup canola oil
  2. 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 2½ pounds okra, sliced ¼ inch thick
  4. 2 large yellow onions, diced
  5. 1½ large bell peppers, seeded and diced
  6. 4 stalks celery, diced
  7. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  8. 1 gallon Shrimp Stock (recipe follows)
  9. ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Crystal Hot Sauce
  10. ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  11. 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  12. 1½ bay leaves
  13. ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  14. 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  15. 1 tablespoon filé powder
  16. 2 pounds peeled and deveined medium fresh shrimp
  17. Hot cooked rice
  18. Garnish: sliced green onion
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, until a milk chocolate-colored roux forms.
  2. Add okra, onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. (Be careful, the hot roux may spatter.) Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add Shrimp Stock, hot sauce, Worcestershire, Creole seasoning, bay leaves, and cayenne.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes. Add tomatoes, filé, and shrimp. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with hot cooked rice, and garnish with green onion, if desired.
Louisiana Cookin
Shrimp Stock
Serves 12
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  1. ½ pound shrimp shells and heads
  2. 1 gallon water
  3. ½ cup white wine
  4. ½ yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  5. 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  6. ½ small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  7. 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  8. 1½ bay leaves
  9. ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  10. ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  11. Juice of ½ lemon
  1. Rinse shrimp shells and heads under cold water. In a large heavy stockpot, combine all ingredients, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, skimming occasionally. Remove stock from heat, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Louisiana Cookin


  1. I’ve had the shrimp and okra gumbo at Cafe Adelaide and it’s by far the best I’ve had, bar none. So,I can’t wait to make it

  2. 30 minutes is too long to cook the shrimp. If The gumbo is on a low boil,add the shrimp and cook until just pink. About 10 minutes. Then serve. You will get a much more succulent shrimp and a lot more tender.

    • There’s a trade-off with this cook-time. At 30 minutes, the shrimp are not quite as tender and succulent as we usually like, BUT the shrimp flavor is terrific. You can certainly add them later for better texture.

    • Hi Diane! If you followed the recipe but didn’t find the flavor to your liking, adding your favorite seasoning salt or hot sauce can always help bring out more of those flavors you’re looking for.


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