Southern Gumbo

By / Food / March 26th, 2012 / 1

Everyday this week, Tidings will be featuring Nancy Johnson’s fabulous recipes. Nancy has a knack for creating delicious fare that’s quick and easy to pull together. Based on all the great reader feedback Nancy’s recipes have received over the years, we have no doubt that these will become staples in your home. Give them a try, and let us know what you think.

A trip to Kentucky led me to the fiery offerings of Lexington’s infamous Gumbo Ya Ya. With a heaping plate of crawfish maque choux and shrimp étouffée in front of me, I experienced a life-changing revelation: I have been way too timid in the hot sauce department. After years of kicking it down a notch, I’m fixin’ to kick it up. I have begun my Cajun journey, with a side of Creole. There will be more recipes to come. For now, this is as basic a Cajun as you can get, made right in the microwave. Okra is the key to thickening the gumbo, so don’t skip it. I always have a bag of frozen, colossal, peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer for easy weeknight meals.

Shrimp Gumbo

Serves 4

1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 package frozen okra, defrosted and sliced
1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 tbsp minced chives

In a large microwave-safe casserole, combine onions, peppers, garlic and oil. Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until onions are transparent.
Stir tomatoes into casserole. Add stock, okra, hot pepper sauce, oregano and fresh lemon juice. Cover and microwave 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, cover and cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
Stir in cooked rice and garnish with chives. Pass the hot sauce. Ya Ya!

A medium-bodied Viognier will tame the heat.


Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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