Many years ago I was given a recipe for gumbo and was able to be in the kitchen with a family of southern women as they made it. I recall no one seemed have the exact measurements or same recipe. There was chicken in the gumbo but not on the recipe. Improvise.
Over the years I’ve misplaced the actual recipe but a few things have always remained the same. Use fatty bacon, frozen okra, and seafood. Everything else is fair game.
Originally the recipe had bacon, onions, okra, bell peppers, green onions, andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp and crab (imitation and legs) along with water, canned tomatoes and seasoning.

I have a hard time finding the same sausage anymore so most times I make gumbo without it. Last night was no exception. I so haven’t written down the exact recipe but I’ll share with you how I made it this time.

1lb fatty bacon (if you don’t have kids or men walking thru the kitchen eating pieces of cooked bacon you can use less)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 green onion (all of it) chopped
1 green bell pepper
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 10oz pkg frozen cut okra
2lbs cleaned peeled cooked shrimp
2 snow crab leg sections (about 8 legs)
1 pkg imitation crab meat
1 1/2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked

Fry up the bacon and save the grease. Place bacon in plate to the side. Chop all your vegetables set them aside.
In a large pot poor most of the bacon grease and warm it up. In frying pan cook up okra, set aside.
In pot with grease, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time mixing in with the grease to create a roux. When roux is thick and tan (not dark brown, don’t burn it) add all vegetables except the okra. Saute and coat the vegetables in the roux. Yum!
Vegetables will begin to smell delicious and become translucent, at this point add the tomatoes and 2 cans of water, more if you want it thinner. Let the vegetables cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add all meat; chicken, bacon, shrimp, crab and okra. Add any seasonings you like such as parsley, oregano, bay seasoning, etc. I only added bay seafood seasoning. Cover and cook on medium-low for 30 minutes. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Vegetables cooking in the roux
Finished gumbo

I usually wouldn’t use actually crab legs with the kids but I had some in the freezer. It’s a bit messy but delicious!
What are some things you’ve put in your gumbo?