Sunday Dinner: Shrimp Gumbo

Contrary to my normal practice of preparing the recipes I share with you each month, I have not made this one — but I will.

The reason? A kitchen fire … and it wasn’t my fault.

It was the colt’s fault because he is so cute.

A few weeks ago, I was preparing lunch with two covered pots of vegetables and one uncovered pan of frying okra on the stove. Our daughter Lee stuck her head in the back door, saying, “Come see the baby colt!” and of course I had to go see the cute little thing — but I saw him too long, because as I was nearing the door I saw the smoke-covered windows. The okra pan had turned into a blaze, which took out the stove, an overhead cabinet and the connected cookbook shelf, and had burned a hole in the ceiling.

However, the kitchen fire didn’t put me out of the cooking business, because I have a microwave, a grill and two surface units. I can’t bake, but that’s all right because I can still make Shrimp Gumbo.

There are as many ways to make gumbo as there are to make vegetable soup or potato salad. Some gumbo recipes ask for chicken (which is cooked ahead), oysters, ham, crabmeat, fish, and other things. This is a very simple recipe from an old cookbook. I was unable to locate the person who submitted it to thank her, but I do so now. I like the cookbooks with names of the contributors, because you know it’s going to produce a tasty dish. If the recipe were not good, the contributor would not want her name on it.

We could easily claim this for a South Carolina recipe because of the shrimping industry on our long coastline, but the contributor was Mrs. Corzine from Missouri.

To serve this gumbo, put a generous serving of rice in a bowl, then top it with the gumbo. You should have about eight 1-cup servings. Add a green salad and a roll if you choose.

Although the recipe doesn’t say this, because there is about a three-hour cooking time I think you could make this the day before, cool and refrigerate, then reheat it the next day, just in time for … Sunday Dinner. Then you could go pat the cute little pony.

Shrimp Gumbo

1 1-to-1½-pound soup bone
6½ cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 bunch green onions
2 cups sliced okra
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 cup peeled, chopped tomato
1 pod hot pepper
1 large green pepper, chopped
1-2 teaspoons dried whole thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Hot cooked rice

Combine soup bone, water and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour.

Trim tops from green onions; chop bulbs and tops separately and set aside.

Sauté onion bulbs and okra in hot bacon drippings for 10 minutes. Add tomato and sauté about five minutes. Add 6 cups of soup stock from cooking bone, green onion tops, and remaining ingredients: peeled, chopped tomato; hot pepper; green pepper; thyme; bay leaf; and shrimp.

Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1½ hours. Serve over rice. Yields about 8 cups.

Have a recipe?