Gumbo-esque stew for the sickly

Hello all!  It's been awhile - I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and that you are all enjoying 2011 so far.  I'm sure it probably seems (based on all of my previous posts) that I only cook things loaded with butter and sugar...but today I have something that contains neither of those ingredients.

I love, love, love okra.  My grandma used to grow it in her gardens in Tennessee and we would fry or stew it.  It wasn't until I was a little older that I first had gumbo, and found my favorite okra dish.  I'm recovering from a cold, and gumbo, with all of its heat and spice (and okra) is what I was craving yesterday.  I am calling what I made a "gumbo-esque stew" because I can't claim to be an expert in gumbo and I needed to make do with what I had in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.  I based my stew on this recipe from EatingWell.com.  It turned out beautifully and was just what I needed.  I only wish I would have remembered to take a picture before we ate it!

Gumbo-esque stew for the sickly

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups no-salt added chicken stock
  • 1 15 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped okra (I used frozen)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (I used short grain)
  • About 8 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 6 ounces chicken andouille sausage, sliced very thinly
  1. Toast flour in a heavy pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown (it took mine about 5 minutes).  Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat until onion and celery are softened (about 5 minutes).
  3. Stir in toasted flour until vegetables are coated.
  4. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, okra, and spices (through salt) and bring to a simmer.  
  5. Add rice and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.
  6. Add shrimp and sausage, return to a simmer, and cook until shrimp is cooked through.  
Serves 6

Notes on Gumbo-esque stew:

  • This recipe is very forgiving.  Use the vegetables you have on hand and adjust the amount you use according to what you like.  The original recipe called for green bell pepper, but I didn't have any so I left it out and it was still delicious.
  • If you don't have no-salt added chicken stock, you can use regular chicken broth or stock, just leave out the added salt until right before serving and then salt to taste.
  • This was great served with cornbread.  It's probably more traditional to serve it with French bread, but I like cornbread better.