I’m trying to get better at using up food that’s hanging around the house. The random half bags of grains, the split packages of meat in the freezer, the unused vegetables in the bin – making a very conscious effort to not waste food. We were so proud when we re-purposed the carcass of a two pound grouper to make fish stock. But a gallon of stock takes up a lot of space in the freezer.
I decided to put some of that extra stock to use in this gumbo. Normally, I use chicken stock for the recipe, but the fish stock worked just as well. I love gumbo because I can also throw in any extra ingredients that need to get used – like those random two links of smoked sausage in the freezer, or the half a red pepper leftover from when I made a stir fry. I like my gumbo thickened with okra, but am not a fan of the slime it produces, which is why I cook it before adding it to the gumbo.
Adapted from The Best of New Orleans
By Brooke Dojny
- Place okra in a medium pot and fill with enough water so that the water line is an inch above the okra. Add ¼ c of vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse well. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry. Season with black pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring frequently until browned. Remove to paper towels to drain.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove with tongs to a plate.
- Add remaining vegetable oil to pan. Sprinkle flour over the oil and cook, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes. Mixture (roux) will turn a dark caramel brown. Do not let burn.
- Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the okra, chicken stock, and water. Return sausage and chicken to the pan. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne. Cook, partially covered, over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Remove chicken with a slotted spoon. Add shrimp to the pot and simmer another 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken meat from bones and return the meat to the gumbo. Season to taste with hot-pepper sauce and salt. Garnish with green onions, and serve over rice.