Wednesday, August 21, 2013
family favorite recipe: faux gumbo
I call this a "faux" gumbo because it doesn't begin with a roux. I wish I could link this recipe back to the original, but I can't. I adapted it from a cookbook that my mom gave me when I was first married. I no longer have the cookbook and last I checked, it's no longer in print, nor do I remember the name. Just know that this is not an original recipe of mine. I've just tweaked it a bit.
We are Cajun fans in this house. We eat a lot of red beans and rice, jambalaya and gumbo. It's so good and spicy. Yum! This particular recipe is one that I make during every 2 week menu planning period. If you missed it, you can see how I menu plan here. It's super simple, quick and most importantly, super delicious. And once you've made it a couple times, there really is no recipe required. It's that easy.
I also have to apologize up front, I do not do measurements. I don't measure anything when I cook so I will try my best to give you measurements for all the Type A's out there! I always go by what tastes and looks right. Just so you know, the Cajun seasoning and flour measurements are total guesses. Please do what looks good to you. It may take a couple times to get the taste just right for you and your family. We like things pretty spicy so we add a lot of the seasoning.
About 1 lb. chicken breast cut into 1 inch squares (I generally use 1 breast per person)
1-2 Tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (not pictured. I use Creole, Kroger brand)
1/3 cup Flour
1 onion- diced
2 stalks celery- diced
3-4 cloves garlic- minced
1 green bell pepper- diced (I use 1/3 bag of Kroger frozen diced green bell peppers)
1/2-1 cup frozen cut okra (this is really to taste, you can totally omit it if you hate okra)
1 can stewed tomatoes
Chicken Broth (I prefer homemade but you can use any brand you like!)
Cook one cup (dry) of rice for every 2 people. Start this before you start the gumbo.
1. Cut up chicken breasts into one inch square pieces. Mix flour and Cajun seasoning in a bag or a large bowl. Add chicken and toss until completely coated. Add more flour and/or seasoning if needed. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over med/med-high heat. Coat bottom of pot with olive oil. When hot, add chicken and remaining seasoning/flour mix. Cook, while stirring, until there is no more pink left on the chicken, about 3 minutes. If more oil is needed because chicken is sticking to pot, add it as needed.
2. Add diced onion, diced celery and minced garlic to the pot. Stir and cook until onion become tender and translucent. Again, add oil as needed. Keep stirring in order to stop garlic from burning.
3. Add diced bell pepper, frozen okra and stir. Add stewed tomatoes and their juice. For better flavor, squish the tomatoes with your hands as you add them into the pot. Stir everything together really well.
4. Add chicken stock or broth into pot until it's just barely below all ingredients. If you desire a soup-ier gumbo, add it until just above all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, put lid on and simmer 20 minutes.
5. Serve in large bowls with rice scooped on top. Enjoy!
If you want to make this recipe entirely with "real food", it's so easy! Make your own chicken stock. I love Martha Stewart's recipe, here. Make your own stewed tomatoes. This is a super simple crock pot recipe. And you can certainly make your own Cajun seasoning too.