Sunday, June 12, 2011

Creole Gumbo

Southern gumbo with lowcountry shrimp – a perfect pairing. It’s even better when you add some chicken and andouille sausage to balance the flavors. You can prepare the entire recipe, minus the addition of the shrimp, the day before you serve it. The herbs and spices will blend with the tomato base to give you that wonderful Creole taste.

The prep time is definitely worth the effort. Most of the work is chopping up the vegetables and meats.

¾ cup onion, chopped
¾ cup carrots, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
¾ cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dried thyme, or several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 cups chicken stock
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (Available at health food stores.)
12 ounces fresh okra, cut into ¼ inch pieces
6 ounces andouille sausage or other smoked sausage
1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
8 ounces uncooked shrimp, shelled
Olive oil

Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and stir for another minute. Add cayenne and black pepper, salt, chicken stock, tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in arrowroot powder. Mix well and then turn down the heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the gumbo is simmering, cook the okra in a little olive oil in a skillet until edges begin to brown and the okra becomes tender. Add the sausage and cook for another minute. Move the mixture to a plate.

Add the chicken to the skillet with a little more olive oil and sauté until completely cooked through. Turn off heat.

When the gumbo has finished simmering for 20 minutes, add the okra with sausage, and the chicken to the stockpot. Cook for a minute or two longer to heat through.

Just before you are ready to serve the gumbo, stir in the shrimp and cook for three minutes. Do not overcook. Spoon into serving dishes.

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