RECIPES: Gumbo

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Ingredients

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 links andouille sausage, thick-diced

4 lean boneless country pork ribs, chunked

1/2 cup all purpose flour, seasoned

1/2 cup yellow onions, diced

1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup bell pepper, diced

8 cloves fresh garlic, smashed

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

6 cups fat-free chicken broth

1/2 cup parsley, minced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet

1 small can crushed tomatoes

12 ounces cooked crawfish tails

1 pound fresh or frozen gumbo shrimp, peeled and diced

6 cups cooked rice

Instructions

First, haul out your old 8-quart Dutch oven or gumbo pot, put it on the stovetop, and pour the olive oil into it.

Then, while that’s coming up to heat, take a large bowl and mix together the sausage, sprinkle the mixture with the seasoned flour, and place it all–in batches–in the Dutch oven. Then over a medium-high heat, brown everything evenly.

When they’re seared perfectly, remove them from the pot and set them aside for a while on a platter.

Then drop the vegetable seasonings (the onions, green onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms) into the pot and stir-fry them until they are all become soft and semi-browned.

From this point on, it’s simply a matter of adding the remainder of the ingredients–except for the crawfish tails, the shrimp and butter– to the pot (one ingredient at a time) and gently combining them with “the mix” as they’re added. Of course, the crawfish tails and shrimp will be the last items to be added to the gumbo, and that shouldn’t happen until about 10 minutes before you plan to serve up the meal.

If you don’t want the gumbo spicy, use regular crushed tomatoes without chilies included.

I included Kitchen Bouquet in the ingredients lineup because you’re probably going to need it to give the gumbo a “browned roux” color. The Dutch oven — in the oven — will cook the meats to a “fall-off-the-bone” tenderness, but it will not brown flour all by itself. You’ll need the Kitchen Bouquet to do this.

Even though there’s a lot of chicken stock listed in the recipe, be careful how much of it you use. Ideally, you want the stock level to be about two inches over the top of the ingredients, because as they cook down they’ll make additional “gumbo” liquid. Too much broth at the outset will cause the gumbo to come out way too watery. All and all, it’s your call on what kind of consistency you want.

Once everything is mixed and blended, you can transfer it to a large Crock Pot, set the control switch to medium (or low), put the lid in place, and let the gumbo simmer until you’re ready to serve.

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