1 pound medium raw shrimp
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
I small green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups water
1 can (14 ½ ounces) tomatoes, cut-up, undrained
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
2 bay leaves (Turkish or other)
8 ounces fresh or frozen okra
5 cups hot cooked rice
fresh herb sprig for garnish
1. To peel shrimp, remove the legs by gently pulling them off the shell. Loosen shell with fingers, then slide off.
2. To devein shrimp, with paring knife cut a shallow slit along back of shrimp. Lift out vein. (You may find this easier to do under cold running water.) Refrigerate until needed.
3. To make a roux, cook and stir 1/4 cup oil and flour together in medium saucepan over medium-low to low heat 20 minutes or until mixture is a tannish-brown color; set aside.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion bell pepper and garlic until vegetables are crisp-tender.
5. Stir in water, tomatoes with liquid, thyme, salt, red pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
6. Wash okra; cut into 1/4-inch slices.
7. Stir roux and okra into tomato mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Add shrimp to gumbo and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and opaque. Discard bay leaf. Serve gumbo over cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.