I love gumbo.
Mainly because it’s spicy and has okra in it; two things I love dearly.
Did you know “gumbo” is the Bantu (language spoken in certain parts of Africa) word for okra? That is why no matter what gumbo recipe you use, you must always have okra in it. Okra-less gumbo is just wrong. I will be morally offended if you make gumbo with no okra in it. Okay, so maybe I won’t be offended, but seriously, the okra makes gumbo so good. Just sayin’.
I keep my gumbo pretty simple. Saute onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper, make a roux with flour and oil or butter, add broth, whisk to thicken, and your spices, okra, and 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add your chicken and sausage/ham (if using), let it simmer a good 30 minutes, and you shrimp, let it cook another couple minutes, and serve. Bam. Some people will only eat gumbo with rice, but I prefer it with some fresh crusty bread or even cornbread.
(serves 6 – 7)
- 4 – 5 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 – 5 Tbsp. unbleached flour
- 4 c. chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 3 – 4 tsp. cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 3 c. sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
- 2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 c. sliced andouille sausage or diced ham
- 2 c. chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and de-veined
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using andouille sausage, heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage. Stir sausage and cook until slices browned on each side. Drain off fat, and set aside (if using ham, you can skip this step).
- In a large pot, heat butter/oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper, and saute gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
- Add flour and stir until all oil is absorbed. If flour is still powdery add a little more oil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes.
- Whisk in chicken broth, and continue whisking until broth thickens slightly.
- Add bay leaves, thyme, cajun seasoning, oregano, okra, tomatoes, sausage/ham, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves. Taste and check spiciness. If you want it spicier, add more cajun seasoning.
- Add shrimp, and cook for 3 – 4 more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste [note: a lot of cajun seasonings already have salt in them, so you may not need to add any extra salt].
- Serve with fresh crusty bread, steamed rice, or cornbread.