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.
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.”