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Grandma's German Red Gumbo

My grandmother was the offspring of German and English immigrants that arrived in Galveston in the early 1900's. Having lived through the depression, they learned to utilize the local resources for their meals. Grandpa had about 2 acres of ground constantly producing all sorts of vegetables. Grandma also canned these vegetables to keep through the off seasons. Okra, Tomatoes, Onions, and Seafood were readily available and thus this recipe came to being.

We loved this gumbo so much that Grandma served it at all our special occasions such as birthdays, etc. It is an easy gumbo to make as it requires no roux. Grandma only used fresh ingredients that came out of grandpa's garden. I have changed this recipe somewhat to allow for those of us that don't have time for a garden.

Feel free to substitute other meats. chicken, sausage, fish, crab etc. all make excellent gumbos.


The Meats
  • 1 lbs. bacon
  • 2 lbs. fresh peeled shrimp
  • 2 lbs. fresh fish fillets
The Veggies
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tbspn. of minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 lbs. okra, sliced
  • 1 - 14.5 oz, can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - large can tomato sauce
The Spices
  • 1 or 2 tspn. cummin
  • 1 or 2 tspn. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tspn. thyme
  • 1 tspn. oregano
  • salt to taste

Cut the bacon into small pieces about an inch wide. Chop the onion and bell pepper and set aside. Slice the okra and set it aside.

Brown the bacon in a large pot. Don't drain the bacon fat from the pot. Throw in all of the veggies and brown them. After the veggies have had a chance to lightly brown add about half a gallon of water and bring to a low simmer. Add the spices, tomatoes, tomato sauce then sit back and relax. If you like a little spice to your food, feel free to chunk in a few sliced jalapenos.

Check and stir the gumbo regularly, you don't want to burn the veggies to the bottom of the pot. Continue simmering the gumbo for about 3 hours or until you just can't overcome the hunger pains from the aroma that's permeating your kitchen.

Start a batch of rice and throw the meats into the gumbo. Bring the gumbo to a boil and stir regularly until the meats are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the burner and finish preparations with the rice. Serve and enjoy.

Make a loaf of garlic bread for an added touch, the gumbo broth makes for some good bread dipping.