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Cooking & Culture: Gumbo

Mary Burich | February 2, 2017

Food | Cooking and Culture

Soul food: a tradition that started centuries ago in Africa and has long had a home in America’s South

From the African roots of Southern soul food to the eating habits of trendsetting millennials, Hormel Foods is covering the dishes and stories behind food heritage through a new, online video series called Cooking & Culture.

New Orleans natives Chef Kenneth Temple and Harold Burden, manager of demand planning at Hormel Foods, joined us to talk about the history of soul food in the first chapter of our new series Cooking & Culture in honor of Black History Month.

Recipes From Chef Kenneth

New Orleans Okra Gumbo

  • Total Time

    1 Hour 15 Minutes
  • Serves

  • 1/2 Cups Canola Oil, Plus More If Needed
  • 2 Pounds Small Okra, Sliced 1/4 Inch, Tops & Bottoms Removed
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 6 Ounces Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Dry Oregano
  • 1 Pound Smoked Sausage
  • 1/2 Pound Hormel® Cure 81® Ham, Diced
  • 8 Cups Unsalted Ox Tail Stock Or Chicken, Beef Or Seafood
  • To Taste Kosher Salt
  • To Taste Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups White Rice, Cooked


Ox tail stock-2 lbs. ox tail, 8 peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, onion, bell pepper, celery scraps. 5 quarts water bring to a boil, skim strain after 2 hour. Reserve liquid and ox tail. Can be done a day ahead.

In a heavy bottom pot heat oil over medium-high heat, once hot fry okra in batches, fry okra for 1-2 minutes. Sit to side on paper towels. Once last batch is finished add okra back to pot. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes; season with salt, pepper and cayenne (don’t over season for you will season again). Add garlic, tomato paste and bay leaf, thyme and oregano once garlic is fragrant stir in sausage and ham. Cook for 2 minutes. Add stock bring to a boil, season with salt, pepper and cayenne, taste. Reduce heat to a simmer occasionally stirring for 1 hour.

Serve over hot white rice.

Tip: You can add chicken, shrimp or crab to your gumbo too!

We’ll find reasons to enjoy food. That’s just the culture of New Orleans.

Chef Kenneth Temple

Southern Ham & Vegetable Cobbler

  • Total Time

    1 Hour 15 Minutes
  • Serves

  • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil, Plus More If Needed
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Bell Peppers, Chopped
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, Chopped Small
  • 2 Cups Hormel® Cure 81® Ham
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3/4 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Dry Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour Plus 1/2 Cup
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Cold
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large heavy bottom pot heat oil and butter over medium-high heat sauté onion, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, cook for 4-5 minutes add ham and garlic, once fragrant add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano and nutmeg. Add flour and stir evenly coating vegetables, add milk in thirds. You don’t want it to come out lumpy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low simmer for 5 minutes. Pierce potato with fork, should be tender. Cut off heat, transfer to greased casserole dish.

In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper and salt together. Slice butter in by tablespoons and crumble with hands until texture is coarse like cornbread. Make a hole in the middle and pour in buttermilk, mix until dough pulls from sides of bowl.

Take 1/2 cup of flour and knead dough 5 times. Cut out biscuits and place on top of casserole, bake for 15 minutes until golden brown, garnish with parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!

Country Green Bean Almandine

  • Total Time

    10-15 minutes
  • Serves

  • 1 1/2 Pound Green Beans, Fresh Or Frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Hormel® Cure 81® Diced Ham
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, Sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds


If fresh green beans, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, drain in colander so water runs off. If frozen green beans, sit in water until defrosted, drain in colander so water runs off.

Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil and butter, once hot add ham and onions sauté for 1-2 minutes, add green beans, garlic and season with salt and pepper, cook for 2-5 minutes (until water cooks out, no more steam) adjust seasoning and pour into serving vessel.

In a separate skillet over medium heat toast almonds for 3-4 minutes until almonds smell slightly toasted. Pour over top of green beans and enjoy!