Monday, March 7, 2011

Louisiana Gumbo

This Gumbo will not make you fat on Fat Tuesday. My recipe is a healthier version and it is absolutely delicious. It is a favorite around our house and is a nice hearty meal that will stick to your ribs. It is great the first day and even better the next day after the flavors meld. It has just the right amount of spice, not too hot, just right. If you like yours even spicier you can add your favorite hot sauce. If you are a cry baby about spice, then this is not for you. Hey, if you can not take a little heat, then please don't eat--no cry babies allowed in Cajun country.

Louisiana Gumbo

  • ½ cup all-purpose white flour*
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic (in jar)
  • 8 cups defatted chicken stock or use chicken base
  • 2 (10 oz.) cans chopped tomatoes with green chilies (Ro-tel original)
  • 1 (10 oz.) frozen sliced okra
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice*
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined, salad style 100/150 count
  • ½ to ¾ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and membrane and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3-4 links andouille chicken sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then into slices.

Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the flour turns a deep golden color. Transfer the flour to a plate and let cool. There will be a strong aroma similar to burnt toast. Be careful not to let the flour burn; reduce the heat if flour seems to be browning too quickly.

In a heavy stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, green peppers, celery and garlic, sauté for about 7 minutes, or until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in the toasted flour. Gradually stir in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add tomatoes, okra, pepper, thyme, oregano, cayenne and bay leaves. Add raw chicken and sausage. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add rice and cook for 60 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and ladle into bowls.

*To make this dish healthy use whole wheat flour and brown rice. It does not affect the flavor. But the brown rice will need to cook for 75 minutes before you add the shrimp. Add 1 cup of Benefiber powder if you want more added fiber.

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