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Julie Tronchet Masson’s Okra Gumbo

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Put on a steaming pot of gumbo for Mardi Gras.

“Julie Tronchet Masson was the ancestor of my friend Lou Costa, who has the distinction of being a descendant of one of New Orleans’ oldest families,” Jessica B. Harris writes in “Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim” (Simon & Schuster, $27). “This version of gumbo is one of the treasured family recipes that Lou and his family whip up when they entertain in their glorious antique-filled house that used to be a Freedman’s Bureau. I’ve spent many an evening there, sitting on a stool in the kitchen chopping and helping out.”

Get your family to pitch in and do likewise to create this Creole favorite.

Julie Tronchet Masson’s Okra Gumbo

1 1/2 pounds okra
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving

Slice the okra and place in a heavy Dutch oven with the oil. Fry for 20 minutes or until all stickiness is gone. Add the onion, garlic and ham, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are wilted but not browned. Add the shrimp and crabmeat and 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes and add salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot over white rice.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim” by Jessica B. Harris

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