When Inauthentic Is Delicious: Weeknight “Gumbo”
Ok, let me preface this by saying that this is not authentic gumbo. No need to point it out to me. I am aware.
I set out to make authentic gumbo with the brown roux and what not, but if you know anything about gumbo, it’s pretty labor intensive and time consuming. That’s not my bag, baby.
I am going to tell you a little anecdote (if you can even call it that) from my week, so you get a feel of how I work in the kitchen.
I went to three different stores looking for fish sauce for this gumbo recipe. Not sure why. I read it in a cookbook, so I figured it’s important. So, 3 stores and nothing. Then my Dad found it and got it for me (love you, Dad!) It was such a huge bottle of fish sauce, so I suppose I was set for many future gumbos.
Except, I couldn’t get it open. That dang top would not come off. I guess this would be where an extra set of (not weak old lady) hands would have been beneficial. Honestly, I probably could have gotten it open, but I have no patience or perseverance for such a task. Don’t I sound like a fun person?
Long story short: no fish sauce made it into this dish. So sad. But true.
Here’s how it all went down.
3 chicken breasts
10 oz bag of frozen shrimp (I used medium, raw, deveined/shell off), thawed
8 oz andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise then chopped
½ onion, diced
½ bell pepper, diced (mine was yellow)
3-4 ribs of celery, diced
12 oz frozen bag of okra
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz), drained
¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Creole seasoning for meats
Olive oil (or whatever oil you fancy)
1 tbsp flour
1 box chicken broth
You can either thaw your okra or cook it in the microwave (that’s what I did, because I have no patience-see above).
Season your chicken breasts and sprinkle with Creole seasoning. Cook in a large skillet coated with olive oil until done. Set aside (when it is cool, chop it up!) In the pan you just cooked the chicken in, throw the tablespoon of flour in there and get it cookin. Add some broth and whisk it all around. Make it look gravy-ish. There—that’s kind of a roux.
Ok, in your large soup pot, heat some olive oil and toss in your sausage. Cook for about 5 minutes, then throw in your shrimp. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning and cook until shrimp are pink (like 3 – 4 minutes). Remove the meat from the pan, add a touch more olive oil and sautee the onion, pepper and celery for about 4 – 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Let that cook for another few minutes and add diced tomatoes and other ingredients (including “roux”) and simmer it for a while. Not an endless simmer (you see what I did there?) just a quick one for about 15 minutes.
Eat it with rice. You can thank me later.
“Hungry monster” is Renee from http://attackofthehungrymonster.blogspot.com/, a cooking and (occasional) crafting site. She’s a self-taught home chef who likes to put her own spin on classic recipes. Go visit her blog and say hi. Or follow her on Twitter @athungrymonster.