Gumbo with Smoked Okra
I’m not one to ever ‘not’ say it like it is. Shoot straight, be open and honest, and with equal parts humble and compassionate truth. With that, this dish rocked. Gumbo is relatively an easy dish to make, but with deep layers and with a rich finish. Procuring fresh okra in New England however is a challenge, let alone in the midst of winter. This recipe was inspired in part, aside from the mardi gras festivities of this past week, by stumbling upon Rick’s Pick’s Smokra. They offer some great pickled vegetables (classic sours, beans, beets), but it was the smoked okra that flew off the shelf into my arms and one of the secret ingredients in this recipe. The fifteen-minute simmering dark brown roux was the other secret. Taking a roux to that dark place delivers the rich and creamy layer that screams “I am Gumbo”. The oh-so tender shredded chicken, complimented by spicy shrimp and andouille sausage provided the right balance of heat. Served over rice, or naked on its own, Gumbo is true comfort food.
SECRET INGREDIENT: Smoked Okra
TIP: Do not re-boil after adding the file (sassafras) as this tends to make gumbo stringy
Gumbo with Smoked Okra
- Chicken, (1 lb boneless skinless breast and thighs)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Extra-virgin Olive Oil (1 Tbsp)
- Butter (1/2 cup)
- Flour (1/2 cup)
- Onion (1 ½ cups, diced)
- Bell Pepper (1 cup, seeded and diced)
- Celery (1/3 cup, diced)
- Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
- Diced Tomatoes (16 oz)
- Andouille Sausage, cooked (12 ounces, sliced)
- Bay leaf, dried (1)
- Thyme, dried (1 tsp)
- Basil, dried (1 tsp)
- Paprika (1 tsp)
- Cayenne (to taste)
- Chicken Stock (4 cups)
- Smoked Okra (1 cup, sliced) – Rick’s Pick’s Smokra
- Shrimp (1 lb, shelled and deveined)
- Gumbo File (1 tsp)
- Scallions (2, thinly sliced for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Season chicken with salt and pepper on all sides, and then dredge in some flour.
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add chicken and cook until just crisp on each side. Transfer to a foil-lined sheet pan and place in oven. Cook for 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°F, then remove and let rest for 15 minutes. Shred chicken and set aside.
- In same pot over medium heat, melt butter and then add flour. Cook, stirring frequently with a whisk for 15 minutes to make a dark brown roux. Make sure to stir the last 5 minutes of cooking continuously, so roux does not burn.
- Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add thyme, basil, cayenne, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add stock, tomatoes, sliced andouille sausage, bay leaf, and mix well. (Add more stock depending on desired thickness). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Simmer over low heat, for 30 minutes with pot loosely covered, stirring occasionally. Then discard bay leaf.
- Add cooked shredded chicken, okra, and shrimp. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat, and slowly stir in the gumbo file. (Do not re-boil after adding the file as this can make gumbo stringy).
- Taste gumbo and season with more salt or pepper as needed. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with scallions.