Tuesday, August 10, 2010

N'Awlins Style Gumbo

I love the food in New Orleans, and gumbo is one of the local specialities. However, every recipe for gumbo that I found started with making a roux of even parts oil and flour. One cup oil as the first ingredient? I don't think so. After some experimentation, I found that toasting flour allows the gumbo to retain the deep rich color and creaminess of the dish without the large amounts of oil. I've used spicy andouille sausage and chicken, but if you wish to further lower the fat content, replace the andouille sausage with shrimp. Serve this over brown rice, rather than white rice, to increase the nutritional value.


1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 links andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced chile pepper, anaheim or jalapeno
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried parsley (or 2 Tbs fresh parsley)
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup plus 1 quart chicken stock
6 ounces dark beer
1 bay leaf
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup sliced fresh okra
up to 1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped chives

brown rice


Spread the flour on a baking pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven or a toaster oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 4 to 5 minutes, until the flour turns the color of peanut butter. Cook the sausage, vegetables, and chicken while the flour is cooking. Heat a nonstick skillet and cook the sausage to render some of the fat, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain it on a paper towel. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove most of the fat. Return the pan to the heat, and add the teaspoon of olive oil. Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion turns translucent. Add the celery, peppers, and garlic and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more, the onions will begin to brown. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and add the chicken pieces. Cook until the chicken begins to brown on the outside, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Remove the cooked flour from the oven. Add it to a heavy bottomed soup pot or large Dutch oven on medium high heat on the stove top. Make a roux by whisking in 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Whisk continually until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add another 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, continuing to whisk to retain the smooth texture. Add the remaining stock and beer and stir. Add the cooked sausage, vegetables, and chicken, and spices and stir to combine. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture, partially covered, for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Cook brown rice according to package instructions. You'll want about 2 cups of cooked rice.

Bet you thought I'd forgotten the okra? Not a chance! While the gumbo simmers, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in the skillet. Add the okra and cook until it browns on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the okra to the gumbo about 10 minutes before serving. Cooking it in the pan, and adding it last, keeps it from getting gummy.

Serve gumbo in a bowl, over a 1/2 cup serving of rice, topped with some of the chopped chives.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Don't let the long list of ingredients or the cooking time put you off. This one is definitely worth it! I played with learning to make a low fat roux here, so expect to see the same technique in other recipes soon!

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