4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 pound shrimp
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
2 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cups okra or green beans, cut in bite-size pieces (fresh or frozen)
1 pint shucked oysters and their liquid
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooked brown rice or barley

Bring the water and bay leaf to a boil in a pot, add half of the shrimp and cook just until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them in a colander. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook the other half of the shrimp the same way. Run cold water over the shrimp, drain and set them aside. Strain the cooking liquid and return 1 cup of it to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the chopped onion, garlic, green pepper and celery, and simmer 5-10 minutes or until they are tender. Add the tomatoes, parsley, hot sauce, thyme and fennel to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the okra or beans and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the shrimp. Add shrimp and the oysters (with their liquid) and cook just until the oyster edges are curled, about 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice, with ground pepper and additional hot sauce to taste.

6-8 servings