Monday, August 27, 2012

Best gumbo EVER

Chicken shrimp & sausage gumbo
As readers of this blog know, I'm crazy about (chicken and/or seafood) gumbo, but only when okra is in season. It's the one key ingredient without which you don't have gumbo, and it just doesn't work for me to use frozen okra.
It's also a major kitchen project with lots of steps, so I only make it once or at most twice per summer. But my recipe makes a large potful, enough for several meals. The finished stew freezes quite well, and I've already put up a large amount for a month or so down the road.
This batch came out extra wonderful, probably because of an added ingredient: Andouille sausage. I always made it without the sausage for health reasons, but this time found some "chicken" Andouille at Trader Joe's and decided to go for it.
So in the step where you saute chopped peppers, onions and garlic in vegetable oil, I added two sausages, sliced, and let the mixture brown deeply before adding the flour, tomatoes, broth and okra.
Here's my basic recipe (again); amend if you wish with the aforementioned sausage step.


(Serves 4-6)

1 lb. okra, trimmed and sliced (about 4 cups)
4 T canola oil or butter, or a mix, divided
1 medium green pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 T flour
4 cups chicken stock, heated
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 T each chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried) and parsley
1 large bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 lb. uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined), crabmeat, or chicken (boneless, skinless, cut into bite-size pieces), or a combination
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Tabasco or other hot sauce, ore more to taste

1.      Heat 2T oil/butter over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add okra and sauté, stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
2.      Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pepper, garlic and onion and sauté until veggies turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
3.      Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, herbs, salt, and reserved okra.
4.      Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5.      Stir in shrimp, chicken and/or crabmeat, cover and cook another 5-10 minutes until meat is tender. Be careful not to overcook shrimp.
6.      Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf, stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Add more salt if necessary.
7.      Ladle into bowls over white or brown rice. Pass more hot sauce at the table.

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