By Stephanie A. Mayberry
Now that the weather is getting a little cooler it’s time to cozy up with some good, old fashioned comfort food. I grew up in Louisiana and when we started to notice the chill in the air down there we know it’s gumbo time (or sauce piquante, etouffee, and jambalaya, but those are other posts).
Served over steaming rice (Jasmine is my favorite), gumbo is so rich and delicious. It is the perfect cool weather comfort food – Cajun style.
Like many cultural recipes, my gumbo recipe has been passed down through my family. I took the best parts of my family’s recipes, along with friends’ recipes, and added some personal touches of my own. This recipe is the result and is included in my cookbook. Now I want to share it with you.
Since food storage is usually somewhat challenged in an RV, I have cut this recipe to feed two to four people. It freezes really well though.
You can cook this in a crockpot or on the stove.
4 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
2 chicken andouille sausages (or regular andouille), chopped
1 lbs. shrimp (optional)
1 lemon or lime
½ to 1 lbs. fresh okra, sliced (or frozen okra)
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
Cajun spices: salt, coarse ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. flour
Taste this often as you cook to make sure it is seasoned correctly. Do not add a bunch of spices at the beginning. Layer your flavors and baby it along, tasting as you go. Cooking this food is an experience.
Cook the chicken in just enough water to cover. Season well with the Cajun spices and bay leaves.
When chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot but leave the stock. This will be the base for your gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Once the stock is boiling, add the sliced okra, onion, and garlic. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. As the okra will cook it will thicken the stock and give it some very nice body. If the flavor of the stock seems weak to you, you can add a packet or two of Swanson Flavor Boost in Garlic & Herb.
When the okra is pretty soft, debone the chicken and return it, along with the sausage, to the stock and vegetables. Let is simmer.
Taste the stock and see if it needs more flavor, Season accordingly.
Peel and rinse the shrimp then give them a lemon juice (or lime juice) bath in a colander. Do not rinse, just put them in the stock.
As soon as you put the shrimp in the pot, begin to make your roux. Put some oil in a small frying pan and add some flour. Turn the heat up and cook it. You want to move it constantly and don’t let it get too dry. It should not be runny, just bubble a little when it sits in the pan. Keep it moving until it is brown then transfer it to the gumbo. Stir.
Add the green onions and cook a little longer.
Add some filet if desired.
Serve it over rice. As I said, it freezes well and if you do have room in your fridge, it is even better the next day.
When you make it please let me know how it turned out. This is an awesome, amazing dinner that is filling, comforting, and warming. Cest si bon!
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