With frigid temperatures blanketing most of the Northeast, and the Super Bowl countdown underway, today I thought I’d share a delicious and satisfying gumbo recipe. For those who love gumbo, but can no longer tolerate gluten, take heart, you won’t even miss the roux, I promise. I can almost hear my Cajun friends. “Gumbo without roux. . . that’s sacrilegious. ”
Oh contraire mon frère, life without gumbo, now that’s sacrilegious.
Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet and gumbo pot
1 large onion
2 cans chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 large bell pepper (any color)
1 large jalapeno (or more, depending on your tolerance)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Bay leaf (you just have to include a bay leaf)
2 Cans Chopped Tomatoes (or 1 quart jar of tomatoes from your garden)
Tabasco sauce (quantity depending on your tolerance)
2 pounds Carolina Pride Smoked Sausage
2 pounds of shrimp (gulf-coast shrimp only) Note: Add it last
Creole or Gumbo seasoning of your choice
A Bit of History: Before I start chopping, I have to tell you about the Carolina Pride Company. When my husband went on the Atkins- low carb-high protein diet-I wanted to make sure the meats I prepared contained the least amount of preservatives possible. Standing in front of the smoked sausages, I read the labels. Are you a label reader? You really should be. It’s scary stuff. Finding a smoked sausage that did not contain MSG was nigh on impossible, then I read the back of the Carolina Pride Smoked Sausage. No MSG. Well now, I already knew this company: Southern to the core from Greenwood South Carolina, this company has been around since 1920. So for me, it’s only Carolina Pride for my family. With that out of the way let’s get to chopping.
Note: Instead of stirring a roux for hours, you will use a pot and a skillet.
Instructions: I like to do all of my chopping, slicing, and can opening as prep work. Then add everything when necessary. Dice the onions and peppers and set them aside. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces.
Heat cast iron skillet and pour2 generous tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet. Add sausage. Cooking the sausage first releases the flavors. Partially brown the sausage in the skillet and then transfer into the pot. Turn heat on low.
Still using the skillet, add onions and chopped peppers. Cooking the vegetables immediately after the sausage allows the vegetables to absorb the yummy flavor from the Carolina Pride Sausage. Cook until the onions become translucent.
Now the trick: transfer the vegetables into the gumbo pot and deglaze your skillet. Turn the heat on the skillet to high. Pour in one can of chicken broth. This “deglazes” the skillet, releasing the remnants of yummy flavors. Pour stock into pot.
You are now done with the skillet.
Pour canned tomatoes into pot and stir. Adjust heat to medium.
Add bay leaf, frozen okra and second can of chicken broth.
Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes or until okra is the consistency you like.
Taste. Add pepper, salt, creole seasoning and Tabasco to your liking.
Then, the shrimp is added last. Because shrimp cooks fast, I always add it last. This will keep your shrimp moist and not rubbery. Shrimp is done when it turns a beautiful pink color.
Spoon over rice. Enjoy the gumbo and do let me hear your thoughts about this recipe.
Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for reading my blog. Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com