My husband and I invited a few friends over for an “old-fashioned” Christmas party.
I searched for a soup recipe and found one in an 1877 cookbook for Gumbo, submitted by Mrs. E. A. W.
Peel and cut two quarts of tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
I couldn’t find a quart of fresh okra in the middle of winter. Frozen cut okra worked well.
Dice a large onion. Fry three strips of bacon in a skillet until they just begin to sizzle. Add the diced onion to the skillet and sauté them together with a wooden spoon.
The bacon should begin to break apart. If it doesn’t, cut it into bite-sized pieces when finished with the sauté.
Pour this mixture into a large stockpot. This recipe filled my 7.5 quart pot. Add tomatoes, okra, two tablespoons parsley flakes, one teaspoon salt, and one teaspoon black pepper. I added chicken stock and then filled the pot the rest of the way with water.
I used medium heat until the gumbo started cooking, which took about thirty minutes at that quantity. Then the heat was lowered a bit to simmer for ninety minutes.
Our guests loved the soup. A dozen people ate a bowl with several returning for seconds. There was still enough gumbo to serve as lunch leftovers for a couple of days.
This is a comforting soup on a cold wintry day. Enjoy!
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.