Tasting Table SF: Smothered Okra-and-Gulf Shrimp Stew

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Smothered Okra-and-Gulf Shrimp Stew

Recipe adapted from Justin Simoneaux of Boxing Room

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 pound 16- or 20-count Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved

1 cup diced thick-sliced bacon, about 6 slices (½ pound)

1 medium white onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups diced ripe tomatoes (canned is fine)

1 cup tomato sauce

1 pound okra, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3½ cups)

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon salt, plus more for seasoning

Pinch cayenne pepper



1. Put the shrimp shells in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce so the liquid is simmering; let simmer 20 minutes while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Strain and reserve.

2. Heat a 6-quart pot, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon has started to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook until it has begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that the tomato paste doesn't burn. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, okra, bay leaf and 3 cups of the reserved shrimp stock.

3. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the okra is tender; if the stew becomes too thick, add more of the reserved shrimp stock. Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon salt and the cayenne and cook for another 10 minutes. Add more salt if necessary and serve over steamed rice.

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