Mrs. Walthall’s Gumbo

Mrs. Walthall’s Gumbo

I have only had gumbo a handful of times, but each time I’ve had it, I end up thinking I need to find a good recipe and make it at home.  This recipe is one to keep!  This gumbo features chicken and okra.  The recipe comes from Mrs. Senator Walthall.

I made this gumbo in my slow cooker.  If you want to make it on the stove, read through the original recipe and follow those directions.  In place of the whole chicken, I used 5 chicken breasts.  I fried the bacon and crumbled it, added 4 cups of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of okra, and 2 cups of water.  The recipe says to season highly with red and white pepper and salt.  I have no idea on the mix of pepper to salt for a southern gumbo, so I turned to Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning and used a heaping tablespoon.  It probably could have used more seasoning, but my young kids don’t like spicy, so I added extra into my own bowl.  This gumbo is so yummy and with only 5 ingredients and a slow cooker, it is simple to make.

Mrs. Walthall's Gumbo

I estimated this could serve 10 people, but it could really serve closer to 12 people, but I left my cost at 10 people.  I served this with rice (but more than 1 tablespoon), but I didn’t include the rice in the cost to make this.  The cost of the ingredients came to $9.32 making each serving 93 cents.

Original Recipe

Gumbo Recipe from Mrs. Senator Walthall.

Gumbo okra and gumbo file smack of the far South.  The first is made in every southern household, the second only the creoles of Louisiana know the secret.  Mrs. Senator Walthall of Mississippi gives the recipe for the okra, and her daughter Courtnay, who spent some time in New Orleans, tells how the creole gumbo differs from the other.  Mr. Waltahll says:

“Cut up a fine-sized chicken as for fricasse, carefully picking it of bones.  Fry with 1/2 pound of bacon, finely chopping and then add 4 quarts of water, 1 quart of tomatoes, 1 quart small okras.  Season highly with red and white pepper and salt, and simmer for four hours.  Before serving put 1 tablespoonful boiled rice in each plate and pour soup over it.”

Says Miss Courtnay: “Gumbo file differs from these only in the adding of the tender roots of the your sassafras and the higher seasoning.  Sometimes also lima beans and green corn cut from the cob are added.”

Printed in The Boston Weekly Globe on December 25, 1889

Mrs. Walthall's Gumbo Recipe

Mrs. Walthall's Gumbo

A southern gumbo okra recipe from 1889

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 223 kcal


  • 5 ea chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb bacon fried and crumbled
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups okra sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp creole seasoning


  1. Fry and crumble bacon.  Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Serve over rice if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups
Servings Per Container 10

Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 99.9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.1g 17%
Saturated Fat 3.6g 18%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 884mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 6.1g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2.1g 8%
Sugars 2.5g
Protein 23.6g 47%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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