Many years ago I lived in a very small town near Louisiana for a spell. The eastern boarder towns of Texas were heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine. While there I experienced squirrel soup (I will spare you any further details). I learned all about how to shoot a squirrel and became an honorary “Coon Ass”; a ritual that involves sucking the head of a crawfish. Despite the strange customs I loved it there. The people were amazing. Everyone I met was friendly and eager to call me family.
Of all the dishes Louisiana is known for Gumbo is the most popular. Gumbo is a soup traditionally served over rice. Everyone’s Grandma has their own version but typically gumbo is usually made with pork, poultry and seafood and thickened using a rue or okra. In this recipe for Gumbo we break a cardinal rule that disapproves the use of both okra and a thickener. Die-hards believe that you can only use one or the other. In this case the recipe calls for flour and okra.
My sister Michelle sent this recipe to me and I am glad she did. I have been searching for a simple tasty gumbo recipe that would be easy for beginners or those new to gumbo. More experienced cooks can also use this recipe to expound on.
Source: Adapted from the Weight Watchers Cookbook
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound of hot or mild Italian pork sausage
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles or Cajun stewed tomatoes
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound of skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1- inch pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun or seafood seasoning
1/2 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 (10-oz) package sliced okra
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or teaspoon dried
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Cook sausage in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat until brown; about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the onion and green pepper; cooking until softened about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the flour; cook 1 minute longer.
Pour in the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil.
Add the chicken and Cajun seasoning; return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until chicken is cooked through about 5 min.
Add the shrimp, okra, corn and thyme; return to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and cook about 5 minutes longer until shrimp are pink. Serve over rice.
– In place of the Italian sausage use spicy chicken sausage, 1 (2-inch) piece kielbasa sliced, or spicy breakfast sausage.
– Additional vegetables: 1 celery stalk, 6 scallions, 1 squash and/or zucchini sliced.
– Additional spices: 1 garlic clove minced, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.