Mark Bittman’s Shrimp Gumbo Recipe Review


The weather had been chilly lately so I felt like making something a little bit more stew like. Since I have a New Orleans trip scheduled for late April (my first time there!), I decided making shrimp gumbo would be good prep for it haha. I frequently cook from America’s Test Kitchen, but this time around I decided to try out my new Mark Bittman cookbook which I hadn’t used yet. I’ve had his book which I used regularly in my college days. And since I was feeling pretty lazy over the weekend, a fast recipe sounded perfect.


  • butter
  • medium onion
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • okra
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • garlic cloves
  • vegetable or chicken stock or water
  • fresh or dried oregano
  • peeled shrimp

The Process

The list of ingredients was really accessible, nothing too fancy, which is why this appealed to me a lot. However that means I’m not entirely sure how authentic it is since I’m sure traditional gumbo is more involved. In addition he had optional instructions for making your own shrimp stock if you have more time (which would probably have been a nice touch except I was too lazy). I at least used chicken stock instead of plain water though! Haha.

The cookbook has the prep instructions in blue which is a nice highlighting feature, and it scatters the prep throughout the recipe indicating efficient times for you to do that prep during the cooking process itself instead of beforehand. This makes the recipe more efficient. I confess I still pre-prepped my ingredients though since I’m not exactly the fastest chopper. I could probably take a knife skills class lol.

Making this recipe was super simple though and felt quite fast. I was done in perhaps 45 minutes or so, some of which was the simmering time. The sliminess oozing out of the okra thickened the broth. The shrimp cooked quickly once I threw it in.

Simmering the shrimp gumbo
Simmering the shrimp gumbo


Like I said, I don’t know how authentic this dish really was. I’ll have a better comparison once I try gumbo in NOLA, and it’s been a long time since I’ve ordered gumbo from a restaurant. But it definitely tasted light and healthy. I poured some over rice so it made for a filling meal. The shrimp came out perfectly cooked too, which was great. And the nice thing about home cooking is there was no shortage of shrimp! My parents really

Finished shrimp gumbo
Finished shrimp gumbo

Final Thoughts

The ease with which this recipe could be made makes it an easy weeknight dinner if desired. It’s certainly fancier than say spaghetti which is often one of my standard I don’t have time for cooking go-to meals. Another thing I really enjoy about Bittman’s cookbooks is he always offers variations of the recipe, which in this case included crab, chicken, sausage, tofu, and no-okra gumbos. And he provides suggestions for sides as well as the pages in the cookbook that they can be found on so you can easily jump to them. In this case the suggested sides were white rice, quinoa, green salad, and succotash.

Rating (out of 5)

Try for Yourself


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