I love to cook (it’s the cleaning up after part I hate!). And I confess, too, that I like to experiment in the kitchen. I call it being creative. My less generous friends call it my inability to let well enough alone. <g> Anyway, I especially like hearty dishes that I can make a big batch of and freeze portions of for later use. The recipe below is one such.
Gumbo is, of course, known as a cajun favorite, and every cajun cook has her own recipe. For instance my momma’s gumbo was quite different from my grandmother’s, and mine isn’t like either. And this version is different from any of the above. For this one, I’ve added a bit of chili powder and tomato paste to give it a little western twist (not entirely my idea – I saw the concept in a magazine and then added my own spin to it).
Gumbos are very versatile – I just use whatever meats I have on hand (For instance, it’s a great way to use leftover turkey from those holiday meals!)
- 1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil
- 2 tblsp flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
- 5-6 cups chicken or seafood stock (can substitute water if this is unavailable)
- 1 can (12-15 oz) diced tomatoes (if you’d like an extra kick, use the kind with chopped green chilies or southwestern style)
- 1 can (6-8 oz) tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespons Worchestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb sliced okra (best if sauteed separately with ½ teaspoon vinegar until ‘slime’ is gone)
- 4 lbs meat – any one kind or a combination of your favorites. Meats that work well in a gumbo are Sausage (cut into ½ inch slices), deboned chicken or other fowl, pork, shrimp, crawfish, crab or even game meats
- Tobasco sauce or liquid crab boil to taste (optional)
- Use flour and oil or butter to make a roux.
Do this by combining the two ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cooking over a low heat, stirring constantly until the mixtures turns the color of a copper penny (about 15-20 minutes).
- Add garlic, onions, green onions, celery and bell peppers. Cook until tender
- Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT okra (and shellfish if applicable) and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes
- Add okra (and shellfish if applicable). Return to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for another twenty minutes.
- Remove bay leaves, skim excess oil, and serve over rice.
Leftovers (if there are any!) can be frozen for later consumption.