Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jumpin' Jimmy's Gumbo

Did you know that gumbo is traditionally served on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter? Since it is traditionally made with seafood, Catholics could eat it on Fridays during Lent. For those non-Catholics in the crowd, Lent is a 40-day period that ends with Easter. It is typically observed by abstinence from meat, except for seafood on Fridays. I was raised Catholic and during my childhood, I never thought of seafood as meat, since we could eat it during Lent. I had that weirdly literal childhood logic.

This gumbo swaps out the seafood for a small amount of chicken and sausage. It's just enough meat to give the stew a good flavor.

For this dish, I only had to the buy the onion, green bell pepper, celery, the turkey sausage, and the okra. Everything else was already in the fridge or pantry.

Here's the recipe, from the website, along with my changes:

Jumpin' Jimmy's Gumbo

6 servings, generous 1 cup each

1/3 cup of unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup of cooked chicken breast, chopped into 1-inch cubes
3 oz of smoked turkey sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups reduced-sodium, reduced fat chicken broth
1 15 oz can of reduced sodium diced tomatoes
1 10 oz package of frozen, sliced okra, slightly thawed
Cajun seasoning or ground red pepper to taste
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp salt
ground pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked white or brown rice.

1. Heat a large pan or wide pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a spoon, until it turns deep golden, about 7-10 minutes. You'll smell something like burnt toast as it browns. Turn the heat down if it is browning too quickly. Alternatively, you can toast the flour in a pie pan in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Once the flour is toasted, transfer the flour to a plate to cool.

2. Mist the same pan with olive oil or canola oil. (I use an oil mister, it really cuts down on the amount of oil I use in cooking. You can also use a paper towel to film the pan with a small amount of oil.) Increase the heat to medium high. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring, until the onion starts to become translucent. Stir in the toasted flour. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring.

3. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the okra, the Cajun seasoning to taste, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the stew to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Add the reserved chicken and sausage and simmer for 5 minute more. Discard the bay leaf. Taste the gumbo and add salt, pepper, and red pepper as needed. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Content Per Serving:

Calories 138.1
Total Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 28.1 mg
Sodium 452.0 mg
Potassium 308.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 17.0 g (Dietary Fiber 3.5 g, Sugars 4.2 g)
Protein 14.5 g

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