Okra & Shrimp Recipe

Enjoy the best of the Big Easy on Fat Tuesday with this wine-friendly shrimp-and-okra dish.




Bead tossing, spring breakers and bad beer not your thing? Enjoy the best of the Big Easy on Fat Tuesday (minus the Mardi Gras mess) with this wine-friendly shrimp-and-okra dish from Louisiana-born Justin Simoneaux, head chef at The Boxing Room in San Francisco. 

Smothered Okra & Gulf Shrimp

1 pound (16–20) Gulf shrimp
1 cup diced tasso
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups ripe diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
8 cups okra, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Peel and devein the shrimp (after the shell is off, run a knife along the back of the shrimp and remove the vein).

Put the shells in a pot and cover with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil and simmer while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a 6-quart pot (preferably cast iron) over medium heat and add the tasso. Cook until it has started to crisp. 

Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions have begun to soften. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that the tomato paste doesn’t burn. 

Strain the shrimp shells from the cooking liquid. Reserve all but 1 quart. Mix that quart with the tomatoes, tomato paste, okra and bay leaf. 

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 20–30 minutes, or until the okra is tender. If the stew becomes too thick, add more of your reserved stock. 

Add in the shrimp, salt and cayenne and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve over steamed rice. Serves 4–6.

Pair It:

2010 Caves Duplessis Chablis 

“This wine is on the crisp side, but without being too austere,” says Ian Becker, wine director of The Boxing Room. “The mineral and citrus balance the richness of the okra without overpowering the sweet and delicate flavors of the Gulf shrimp.” 

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