New Orleans Okra Gumbo Recipe | Stew Recipes | PBS Food

Grandmother Simon’s Okra Gumbo

serving gumbo

A Simon Family recipe, provided by Ruby Simon.

Lidia Bastianich samples New Orleans food and makes music with Mardi Gras Indians when she attends a New Orleans wedding in Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New.


Yield: 8 servings

Course: ,
Theme: ,


  • 5 pounds fresh okra, cut up
  • 3 pounds smoked sausage, cut up
  • 3 pounds ham seasoning (smoked or regular ham), cut up
  • 3 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (chill in refrigerator in water)
  • 6 cleaned (gumbo) crabs (clean thoroughly, break in half, and chill in refrigerator)
  • 3 cans of tomato sauce
  • 3 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 quarts water
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cayenne pepper
  • Tony Cachare Creole seasoning to taste
  • 6 fresh onions
  • ½ bushel of celery, cut up
  • 1 whole garlic head, cut up
  • ½ bushel of fresh parsley, cut up


  1. In a large pot, add 2 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil and okra pieces. Sauté okra over medium heat until the majority of the slime disappears (let a little slime remain). Add all 3 cans of tomato sauce.
  2. In a separate pan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and fry smoked sausage to a light brown, adding in onion and celery. Put into large pot with okra. Add ham seasoning to pot. Add 4 quarts of water to pot, and raise to medium high heat. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and Tony's seasoning to pot and let cook for 1 hour.
  3. Add shrimp and crabs to pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste. Add parsley and garlic to pot 15 minutes before turning fire off. Let gumbo cook until okra breaks up and cooks down. Add more seasoning to taste if needed. Serve over rice.
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