Too much okra?

 

Okra in bloom.

We are getting tons of okra now and I am still in love with the flowers.  (See Okra, anyone? )  I took my in-laws about four pounds of okra when we visited Houston so I think my mother-in-law felt compelled to share this enormous gumbo recipe with me to help us use our harvest.  They used to live in New Orleans so I think this is a pretty authentic recipe for gumbo. 

I used okra and peppers from our garden along with a huge onion a friend brought back from Colorado for me.  I also used tomato sauce that I canned a couple of weeks ago.  So, if you can excuse the celery (and maybe the onion), this is a localvore dish.  Even the bay leaves came from our greenhouse.  (I only used two of them since I was adding fresh leaves.)

okra

This equaled about twenty cups of sliced okra.

peppers

Just picked (and chopped) peppers from our garden.

Okra Gumbo Freezer Mix

22 c. sliced okra
2 c. chopped green pepper (I threw in a couple of sliced jalapenos.)
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. fresh ground pepper
6 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. chopped celery
2 T. sea salt
5 bay leaves (3 fresh)

Combine all ingredients in three 13x8x2 baking pans. Cover and bake at 300 for 2 hours or until okra is tender, stir during cooking once after 1 hour. Let cool. Spoon into 1 pint freezer containers. Freeze.

Now, since I did not have three baking pans, I decided I would throw it all in my crockpot.  It was a tight fit.  I smooshed the lid down as best I could and let it cook on high for about 30 minutes before I attempted to stir it at all.  (I layered all the ingredients in according to the recipe first.)  After I got the thing mixed up, I turned the pot to low and waited another hour to stir it again. )

A full pot.

To prepare gumbo from this huge recipe:

1 pint gumbo mix, thawed
2 c. water or chicken stock
1-16 oz can tomatoes, undrained
1 lb chicken or shrimp
2 c. cooked rice

Combine gumbo mix, water, and tomatoes.   Cover and simmer 1 hour.   Add meat and simmer for 20 minutes.   Season to taste.   Add cooked rice.  Remove bay leaves. Serve.

I ended up filling five quart-sized freezer bags with a little over two cups each.  We could not resist sneaking pieces of okra out of the pot as the gumbo mix cooled.   I can’t wait to finish the recipe out and make the completed gumbo.


Okra

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