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From the Culinary SOS archives: Seafood gumbo

February 17, 2011 |  6:00 am

Just this week, I received a letter from Mona in Gardena. "My husband has fond memories of eating delicious gumbo when visiting friends in Louisiana," she writes, going on to ask if we might have a recipe for seafood gumbo.

Well Mona, with Festival season in the air and Mardi Gras just days away (March 8th, everyone!), you certainly be without a gumbo recipe! I searched our archive and found the recipe for Lala's gumbo. This popular recipe has appeared in The Times at least three times, with its first printing as a Culinary SOS on Jan. 19, 1973.

Enjoy, Mona, and Happy Mardi Gras!

Follow the jump for the seafood gumbo recipe. And click here for more Culinary SOS recipes. If you have a favorite restaurant recipe you'd like to request, feel free to e-mail me at noelle.carter@latimes.com. I'll do my best to track down the recipe.

-- Noelle Carter


Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times 

Lala's gumbo

2 pounds okra

2 medium onions

2 stalks celery, optional

4 cloves garlic

1/4 pound bacon

1 1/2 pounds shrimp

1 (1-pound) can tomatoes

4 cups boiling water

Salt and pepper to taste

2 bouillon cubes

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup cold water

Wash okra and cut into 1/2-inch slices, discarding stem ends. Dice the onions and celery. Mince garlic. Cut bacon into 1-or 2-inch squares. Peel, clean and rinse shrimp thoroughly, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Now start cooking: Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon to a large kettle. Saute okra in bacon fat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Put okra into kettle with bacon. Add more drippings or other fat to skillet, add onions and celery and saute until onion is tender but not browned. Add garlic, mix well, then add 1 cup tomatoes. Cook stirring occasionally, until tomatoes darken in color somewhat. Add remaining 1 cup tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water, mix well, then stir in bacon and okra. Add a second cup of boiling water, salt and pepper to taste, then 1 bouillon cube. Stir over medium heat until gumbo comes to a boil. Add a third cup of boiling water and another bouillon cube, turn heat low and simmer 20 minutes. Add one more cup boiling water and cook 10 minutes. Blend flour with cold water until smooth. Add to boiling gumbo and let come to a boil again, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes before serving or refrigerate overnight and reheat. Serve hot gumbo over rice in soup plates. Makes 6 generous servings.