Unorganized Cooking: Gumbo


This recipe wasn’t hard to make, but it was tedious. There was more chopping than Robespierre setting his guillotine to turbo mode. Funny now that I mention that considering Louisiana has French connections, although that was a different Louis. Those scallions were like a mini boss before the main boss, that is the onion. Not only I had to dice it, but it had to be finely chopped to the point I built a tolerance after a while. I never knew okra could be that mucilaginous.

Ingredients (this list is so long I might as well just recite the Declaration of Independence):

  • Shrimp
  • Okra
  • Cremini Mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Heavy Cream
  • Flour
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce (Good luck pronouncing that. Spanish people just call it Salsa Inglesa)
  • Celery
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Tabasco
  • Onion
  • Bay leaf

Cooking Time: Surprisingly, 4 hrs. (3 if you can chop without catching your fingers)


  1. Finely chop celery, bell pepper, and onion along with garlic. This is the holy trinity of gumbo, not even joking that’s what it’s called.
  2. Finely chop scallions, mushrooms, and cilantro.
  3. Slice okra into coin like shapes.
  4. Make a roux in a pot by simmering olive oil, heavy cream, and flour. DO NOT use buttermilk for this –this will just coagulate and clump with the flour. The roux should reach a chocolate brown color and texture. Oh no, my chanclas are in the shot.
  5. Apply the trinity first.
  6. Simmer until the vegetables are stewed in their own juices.
  7. Now pour in the other vegetables. Okra is a great thickener.
  8. Repeat step 6
  9. Now for the wet ingredients. Add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes, whole.
  10. Apply all the seasonings to your liking. Paprika, salt, thyme, everything.
  11. Drop in 2 bay leaves. Honestly in this cauldron of ingredients these leaves might as well just be there for participation.
  12. Drop the shrimp into the pot until they simmer to a pink color and fully cooked.
  13. Let cool and serve.

What made this recipe its own challenge was not cooking it itself but more in waiting. I was waiting longer than I had been when I waited to reschedule my driving test I failed in the first 5 minutes for parallel parking at the local DMV.

No, seriously. I actually did fail it in the first 5 minutes.

Update: Due to unfortunate timing when it snowed heavily on the 9th of March, I again failed at parallel parking, and it snowed exclusively that day only.