Spike and I have only made this two or three times since we’ve known each other and I’m not sure why we don’t make it more often. Because I.Love.It!!! This recipe calls for 3 cups of okra and Spike likes to use his home grown veggies. Usually we have plenty to choose from but this being Oklahoma you just never know. By this time of year for the past few years (I think that makes sense) Spike’s okra has been taller than he is and he is NOT a short fella. Right now his plants come up to my knees. Height-wise. Not in the creepy, crawly, they’re about to take me down sense. So, since there’s not much hope for a bountiful crop and he didn’t want what he’d already cut to go bad he asked if I wanted Gumbo. Uh…yeah!
Oh! And I should mention that Spike found this recipe on the Razzle Dazzle Recipe site. I looked it up so I could make sure I give you the correct ingredients and found that they credit Rachael Ray. Our (read “My”) changes are in brackets so you’ll know what we (I) did. I tend lately to just glance at recipes and then do my own thing. This frustrates Spike. Poor Spike. In fact, he just walked in and is mumbling about that very thing.
And before we get started, Spike wanted me to take a picture of his cooktop. He loves his cooktop. It's usually the cleanest part of his kitchen.
And without further ado:
Gumbo with Chicken and Andouille Sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound chicken breast tenders, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced (or use 2 pounds chicken breast tenders, diced)
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, casings removed and diced [we used 2 andouille and one mystery sausage from the freezer that Spike thinks might have been boudin]
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried [oops…we forgot to add this]
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (for mild to moderate heat) [no mild or moderate for Spike. He should buy stock in the cayenne pepper company]
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock or broth
3 cups chopped okra, fresh or defrosted frozen [Spike says that frozen just does NOT do the trick]
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in puree
3 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves, several sprigs [Spike’s thyme plant kicked the bucket so we had to used dried. It’s just not the same]
8 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
2 1/2 cups white enriched rice prepared to package directions
[Most of you would call this rice. I call it how I annoy Spike by using liquid indredient measuring cups to measure dry goods. Engineers are so fun to cook with]
Preheat a large heavy-bottomed [this makes me giggle] pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, one turn of the pan, [I did not turn the pan. For that matter, I didn’t add the oil either. Spike was not happy. He added the oil soon after the chicken went in and made me segregate them until the oil heated up] and 1 pound of the diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of poultry seasoning [Spike had me do this before I put it in the skillet]. Brown on all sides, about 2 or 3 minutes.
Chop your veggies while it's cooking [Spike chopped veggies while I cooked the chicken and sausage and took pictures of him chopping veggies].
Add half the andouille to the pan and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken and sausage to a dish and repeat with remaining chicken and sausage, remembering to season the diced chicken as you go [or before].
Return pan to heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add chopped celery, peppers, onion and bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.
[Let me take a minute to tell you how much I strongly dislike chopping onions. I would say that I hate it but, come on people! You shouldn’t hate. I was very glad Spike took this task to hand. And what a fine job he did.]
Cook 3 to 5 minutes to begin to soften veggies. [Before and After. Pretty either way]
Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the broth and bring liquid up to a boil [this looked gross so I deleted the pics instead of sharing]. Add okra, chicken and sausage to the boiling broth,
Bring back up to a bubble, reduce to simmer [look at all the colors!].
Simmer for 5 minutes to combine flavors and adjust your seasonings. Serve gumbo with chopped thyme and scallions [Blech! But Spike put some on his] to garnish.
[This is the thyme we had to use instead of the fresh stuff. So, I guess you could say Spike has Thyme in a bottle. Thank you! I'll be here all night!]
Scoop cooked white rice into the center of bowlfuls of gumbo using an ice cream scoop [or just a big spoon]. Serves 8 to 10. The rest of the comments are all me so no more brackets.
The perfect bite! Doesn’t that look all kinds of delicious?
This is what my bowl looked like when I was finished.
This is what Spike’s bowl looked like when I was finished and made him dump what I had left in to his bowl. What?
And this is what was left after we each had one helping and Spike had seconds (not a full helping). This skillet is ginormous!
If you've got a big family this recipe is perfect for you. If it's just for two of you be prepared for leftovers. Spike has no problem with leftovers and this is another meal I don't mind reheating.
Spike has just informed me that okra is used in Gumbo as a veggie AND a thickener. Who knew? So, if you're like me and can't stand slimy okra (which it wasn't this time) use it anyway and then pick it out. Seriously though. I can't stand onions or non-fried okra (it's a texture thing) but I left them both in. There're so many different flavors going on you'll never even notice. If you're adamant about not having okra in your Gumbo (but what is Gumbo without it?) then use file'. Spike said that is sassafrass leaves or something like that. I think he just likes saying sassafrass. Or I do. Sassafrass!