Thursday, June 23, 2011

The best Gumbo

I am about to share with you one of my best recipes. This is my usual "company is coming over recipe". In the past 6 months, I have made it for Michael & Jessica, CJ & Meagan, Lauren & Jeb, my parents, Adam's parents, Adam's uncle & aunt, and ourselves at least twice. I hope I'm not forgetting anyone. What can I say, it's good!!

This recipe is from Cooking Light. I love it because I barely had to modify it. It makes 8 hearty servings. It takes awhile to make... about 1.5-2 hours... so plan ahead.

Cooking spray
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided - I use BUTTER!
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces - I use about a pound of chicken breast - from you guessed it, Costco
1 pound low-fat smoked sausage (such as Healthy Choice) or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds - OK, Adam nearly killed me when I brought home my turkey kielbasa, especially when CJ & Meagan came over. "They are from MEMPHIS, get REAL CAJUN SAUSAGE!". So yea, use real Cajun sausage. It's what makes it REAL.
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper - or more, if you like it spicy :) I use 3/4 tsp and it gives it a nice bit of heat, but not too much
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups (1-inch) slices fresh okra - use fresh, not frozen - HUGE difference
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice - I use 2 cups uncooked basmati rice

Heat a large Dutch oven or a really big pot over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 teaspoon oil (butter), chicken, and sausage; sauté for 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan (leave drippings in pan). Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and red pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until onion is tender and garlic is fragrant. Remove from pan.
Add remaining oil (BUTTER) to pan. Add flour to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook about a minute or until roux is light brown, stirring constantly with a whisk (the original recipe has 10 minutes, but the roux was way to dry to cook for that long). Gradually add broth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add chicken and sausage, onion mixture, tomatoes, okra, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in parsley and shrimp; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Discard bay leaves. Serve over rice.

This is delicious and makes great leftovers. 5 stars. I make it along with my MAGIC MUFFINS - to be blogged about soon :)

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