I think it’s time for a recipe post!
One great aspect of being a military wife is the amount of people you meet and befriend. Military wives are quite a sociable lot and we tend to create friendships that are enduring even though our physical time together might be short. Besides moving to and from many different locales, I attribute much of my adult personal growth to several of these amazing women. This includes branching out in my culinary world.
I’m guessing my parents saw the title of my post and thought, “Gumbo???!!! She doesn’t even EAT gumbo – let alone know how to MAKE it!”. You see, they tried all through my childhood to get me to be a more adventurous eater. When they moved to Tennessee, they introduced me to a fantastic little hole-in-the-wall southern po’ boy restaurant. While my family raved over the gumbo and jambalaya, I was relieved to see that they offered a nice grilled cheese. Whew! (And this was in college.) I’m just not that great with spicy foods. This is completely foreign to my Thai-food-loving, Creole-cuisine-eating family.
So, into my life comes my fabulous friend and fellow Marine spouse, Yvonne. Now, this girl has been places. New England, all over Europe and, very importantly, Louisiana. Man, can she serve up a great Southern meal! When Yvonne graciously had our family over for dinner and served up some authentic chicken sausage gumbo, I inwardly groaned. I really didn’t want to try it because, I assumed, it was probably a shade less hot than the surface of the sun and it really didn’t even look that great. A mysterious mixture of meats and veggies surrounded by a thick brown – what exactly was it – sauce? Soup?
BUT, my mother raised me to be a polite person and I was at least going to try it and act like I enjoyed it. And really, it smelled a lot better than I thought it would . . . .
Oh my! My taste buds were in HEAVEN! Yvonne’s gumbo was so delicious that I even had seconds (maybe there was a small thirds involved too). This one dish made a believer out of me and before long I was after her to show me how to make it. Since then, I have branched out to loving all sorts of dishes that I never would have even tried before: fish tacos, lumpia, avocados, chia fresca, etc. Yes, I know, I was very boring before.
So, without further ado, here’s Yvonne’s Chicken Sausage Gumbo:
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into bite size
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
6-8 cups Chicken Broth/Water (Yvonne uses ~2 qt of chicken broth and then tops off with water)
“Good dousing” (her words, no joke) Cajun seasoning/Tony Chachere’s seasoning
~1 lb Any Meat you want (I chose Chicken for this meal but you can also use shrimp or whatever you’ve got!)
1 – 1 lb bag Frozen Okra
-Heat oil and flour over medium in 14″ cast iron skillet, whisking constantly. Cook roux until it’s the color of an old penny. This seems to take forever. Really, it’s probably about 20 minutes or so.
-While you’re stirring your roux and browning the sausage, chop the onion, celery and green pepper.
**NOTE** I’m not sure how but southern cooks are able to constantly stir two pots and chop veggies all at the same time. I think there might be some magic involved. Which I don’t have so therefore, I didn’t stir my roux as “constantly” as I’m sure I should but it still turned out just fine. I just thought that you other normal people might want that reassurance.
-Add in the roux and stir well.
-Stir in the frozen okra.
-Add the sausage back in and cook over medium for as long as you want, stirring occasionally. *Make sure to add water periodically to keep at the original level*
-You can add a couple of cloves of minced garlic, if you so desire.
-I added in some frozen, cooked chicken that I’d had from a past meal. If you add in raw meat, make sure and cut it into bite-sized pieces and then simmer in the gumbo for at least 20-25 minutes before serving to make sure the chicken is done.
-If you add in shrimp or other seafood, do so about 10 minutes before serving.
Fly Guy loves gumbo so much he actually ate our leftovers for breakfast. I think he’s pretty grateful that I’ve seen the light.