As a lot of you know, Wes and I have a garden in the middle of our backyard. Having a garden that you can just walk out to and pick food for the night is great.
We get our seeds from Baker Creek and everything is heirloom, something I love. We grow some of the same stuff every year…tomatoes, lettuce, and OKRA! We love okra and we always freeze a bunch to have in the winter. When the okra is growing good, it means it is Gumbo Season!
I found a great recipe on Cooking Light for gumbo.
I do not measure anything like they say and only go by eye. It is a good recipe and I tend to add a few more things to it. We also love to eat our gumbo over cous cous or quinoa instead of white rice, as those two grains are better for you.
The only pain about gumbo is making the roux, which is the thickening agent for it. You have to stand over a hot stove and whisk fat (canola oil, in this case) and flour together until it is ‘pasty’ and then turns a medium brown color. In the summer, standing over a hot stove is not fun. This last time, Wes volunteered to learn to make the gumbo and he did all the standing and whisking – hooray for me!
I like this sausage you can find at the grocery (Kroger here) that is a spicy Cajun andouille. Another good recommendation is to hit up a carniceria (Hispanic meat market/grocery) and get some spicy sausage there. You start with sausage and chicken thighs. I tend to buy the thighs on the bone and then de-bone them at home, using the bones for stock. As this is also a pain for most people, you can buy bags of frozen chicken thighs – PERFECT for gumbo!
You remove that from the dutch over/large pot and add in the ‘trinity’ of cooking – onion, celery, and pepper. I like to use red onion and 2-3 different colors of peppers. Usually red and green. That cooks and you add garlic, which I always add extra, thyme, crushed or finely ground red pepper, and S&P. I, again, put in more red pepper than usually called for and then add some hot sauce. Remove that from the pan and then add the rest of the oil and the flour – here is where the whisking begins. Whisking is usually for about 5-10 minutes. Then you, slowly, add the chicken stock while you are stirring constantly. Put everything back in the pan, add the tomatoes and okra and about 3-4 bay leaves and let it cook for 45 minutes. Then you add in your shrimp (again, you can just buy them frozen and already cleaned) and cook for about 5 more minutes!
So yummy! Recipe is Crescent City Gumbo