Seafood Gumbo 5

1 lb. okra, sliced
4 tbsp. shortening
2 tbsp. flour
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (No. 1) tomatoes
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 qt. water
Salt and pepper
1 lb. headless, raw shrimp
1/2 lb. crab meat, or 1 doz. crabs*

Fry okra in 2 tablespoons shortening until it ceases to "rope", about 30-35 minutes. In another saucepan, make roux with remaining shortening and flour. Add onions, and celery; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add okra. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, thyme and water. Simmer for 30 minutes longer. Remove from heat. If desired stir in 1 teaspoon file just before serving. (Never cook file.) Gumbo is better if cooked early in the morning and refrigerated for several hours. Reheat and serve with cooked rice.

Serves 6.

*If crabs are used: Scald live hard-shell crabs and clean, removing the spongy substance and the "sand bag" on the underpart. Break off and crack claws and cut the body in half.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana