Monday, March 3, 2014

Okra Shrimp Bisque - Who Said Okra?

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow and with all the recipes I've been posting lately, well, they are making me fat. Fatter. Forget I mentioned it. Time to switch gears a bit and get back to the basics. Not that the recipe today is basic. But it is good and maybe it is good for you. It does contain veggies and shrimp, and okra does have lots of fiber and it contains protein, too. It is also quick to make and you don't have to make a roux. Plus it makes a perfect dinner with a side of salad. 

This bisque is not a true bisque meaning that it has no cream and it is not smooth but it does contain shrimp and may have French origins. Though it may not. It is thick and creamy, not because of cream, but because of the okra. Okra is a thickener and it does a perfect job in this soup. I've been making this dish for years as a starter for a great Cajun feast. The reason I probably chose this many moons ago is because it is easy to make. And quick. And always gets rave reviews.

Truth is I've never had fresh okra. Not even fried, or grilled, or stewed. Whenever I see okra in the grocery I usually avoid it, but my goal is to buy some and try it fresh; at least when I can find it. I buy frozen okra which comes in a 12 ounce package in the grocery. That's all one needs to make this bisque. Just save a few slices for a garnish because okra takes on an olive hue when cooked and a touch of fresh green on the top does make this look a bit more appetizing.

Paul Prudhomme came up with this recipe, but you knew that already. Didn't you? I love his stuff and for an occasion like Fat Tuesday one should go with the best. But really one should always go with the best and this is the best. At least of any okra shrimp bisque I've had. Let me know what you think. Now let's get this party rollin'!

Okra Shrimp Bisque

Adapted From: Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
Servings: 4-8 Depending on if this is a main course
Time: 45 minutes start to finish

Seasoning Mix:
3 whole bay leaves
2 t salt
1 1/2 t dry mustard
1 1/4 t ground white pepper
1 t cayenne
1 t dry thyme leaves
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t dried basil

1/4 c plus 2 T vegetable oil
3 c sliced okra, in all or 1 bag frozen about 12-14 oz (no need to thaw)
3/4 finely chopped onions
3/4 c finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 finely chopped celery
4 T unsalted butter
2 t minced garlic
1/4 c flour
5 1/2 c basic seafood stock (Take your shrimp shells and add about 6 c of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. OR-I use clam juice that can be bought in the bottle at the seafood counter. You can use a combo of this and water. This bisque is very rich so don't worry if it is not all stock or clam juice.)
1/2 c finely chopped green onions
3 dozen peeled medium shrimp, about 3/4 pound


Combine the seasoning mix in a bowl and set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat 1/4 c of the oil over high heat for 1 minute. Stir in 2 c of the okra, cook until browned, about 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the onions, peppers and celery and cook one minute. Add the butter and cook one minute. Then add garlic and cook another minute. Add the seasoning mix and stir well over high heat for 3 minutes while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 2 T of oil and the flour. Stir to prevent scorching. Cook until well browned, about two minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 c of stock and scrape bottom well. Add 4 more cups of stock and bring to a boil. Boil two minutes, then lower heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining cup of okra but be sure to reserve a few for garnish. Continue simmering 10 minutes stirring here and there. Add the green onions and simmer three minutes. Turn heat down to medium and add the shrimp. Simmer until they just turn pink. Serve immediately garnished with a few reserved slices of okra.

More fun food to try:
Shrimp and Grits
Crispy Chipotle Shrimp and Corn
Barbecued Shrimp Cajun Style
Spinach Salad with Za'atar, Dates and Almonds
Green Onion Garlic Chive Skillet Bread
King Cake
Cajun Potatoes
White Fish with Mushrooms and Browned Butter

Get My Latest Recipes & More Via E-Mail


  1. Nice Abbe. We love okra - you should try it picked sometime. Can't wait until this snow ceases to pile up around our door so we can get back in the garden - another 10 inches today. This looks very warming and satisfying. Yum!

    1. You must have a great garden, Tricia! Somehow Colorado hasn't gotten the snow that you've gotten except at the ski resorts. But March is here and that is usually our snowiest month! Thanks!

  2. This, a muffaletta and a recipe for mini king cake cupcakes and I'm good for Fat Tuesday now!


    1. I totally love a good muffaletta. I've never had mini king cake cupcakes:( And thank you!

  3. Doesn't everyone love okra? I loved it the very first time. Delicious any ole way!

    1. I'm not sure most people have had okra, but I could be wrong! Now I am determined to have it any ole way! Thanks for commenting!

  4. I LOVE okra and usually buy it fresh except when making gumbo or bisque. Then I like it pre cut and ready to go. I must try this awesome recipe.

    1. Thanks Ansh! When I can find it fresh, I'm going to have to try it some new ways. What are your favorites?

    2. Stir fried with a little spice or deep fried add to meat.

  5. I have only had fried okra - not sure I'd like the fresh ones, but who knows? I was watching food network while working out - Melissa d'Arabian was making shrimp po boys and now I totally want one!!

    1. How can you work out and watch the Food Network? I like love shrimp po'boys! These would be hard to resist if put in front of me! I wish you lived closer and then I would promise to work out with you!

  6. I have been totally remiss about recipes for Fat Tuesday but I'll just figure you bit one on the head for both of us! Okra is funny; done right it's fine, but I've had it ruined and well, it's not! This looks terrific; do you deliver?

    1. As long as you are getting better I give you permission to be remiss! I've never had bad okra because I have only had it like this!

  7. Fresh okra actually is quite nice, but I only see it in the summer (and the best I've ever seen has been in the south). So I buy frozen all the time, too. ;-) Great looking bisque -- loads of flavor, and easy to make. I use clam juice all the time for seafood stock, too. Nice recipe -- thanks.

    1. Thanks John! I recently saw something that said to add fish sauce to and it will help enrich the dish if you don't have seafood stock. Thought it was a good tip that I might have to try to remember! You know how that goes?

  8. I am fascinated with the combo of okra and shrimp. The soup looks divine, Abbe.

  9. This looks delish! I am from the south and anything with okra is right up my alley!

  10. Happy Fat tuesday!
    And here I have nothing to celebrate.
    I need to find me some hot gumbo to warm my bones!
    18 degrees today

  11. Just can't go wrong with Paul Prudhomme, right!?!? Looks absolutely amazing! I've been to New Orleans only once, but my husband and I did our darnedest to eat and drink (you know ... it was before kiddos ...) our way through the city properly. This post is totally making me nostalgic for those flavors ... and totally making me wish I could just dip my spoon in your pics! So much yum - loving this!

  12. I am loving soup lately and this looks super comforting! I've never had okra but would be totally willing to give it a try.

  13. Oh, what a great sounding bisque!

  14. I don't think I ever had fresh okra so this has got to change now! Looks great!

  15. It sounds fantastic!!! And adapted from Paul Prudhomme? I bet it tastes incredible!

  16. I love okra...just recently I got some, next time will try this recipe, sounds and looks delicious Abbe.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

  17. As a regular around here, I don't know how I missed this. Better late than never! Looks wonderful! Bookmarked! ;-)