Recipe courtesy of Kardea Brown

Limpin’ Susan

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
You might have heard of Hoppin’ John, a mix of black-eyed peas, rice and salty cured pork. The dish, introduced by West African enslaved people in the coastal South, dates back centuries and is thought to be named after a disabled street vendor in Charleston, SC. But there’s a lesser-known spin-off made with okra, called Limpin’ Susan, and it’s just as tasty. Kardea Brown’s take — featured in her debut cookbook, The Way Home — includes shrimp too. The host of Delicious Miss Brown was raised on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and learned to cook in the Gullah tradition from her mother and grandmother. "In the kitchen I got to see and hear all about the special ways our families and our way of life went into the way we prepared Hoppin’ John," she recounts. "It was a feel-good place where love was poured in and stirred and baked and simmered till even more love came out." Try this dish and you’ll see what she means.



  1. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably cast-iron, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add the shrimp to the bacon fat and cook until just barely seared, about 4 minutes. Remove to a separate plate.
  3. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the okra and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and the rice. Sauté until the onion is browned, 3 minutes more.
  4. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and return the shrimp to the skillet. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, use a fork to stir the bacon into the rice. Fluff and serve.

Cook’s Note

Unless you buy shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, you’ll need to do it yourself. Just grab a small pair of kitchen shears and snip the shell along the curved back of the shrimp, moving from the wider end toward the tail. Using your hands, peel back the shell and legs (store them in a plastic bag in your freezer to use for stock) and remove the tail if you wish. Once the shell is off, if you see a dark vein, gently dislodge it with the tip of a paring knife and pull it out. Carolina Gold rice is great in this dish; it has a unique flavor and texture. If you can’t find it, any long-grain rice will work.