Friday, August 24, 2012

Recipe from the garden: Home-made Gumbo

Someone dropped off some fresh Okra at work today and so I took a few to make some homemade Gumbo. I first tasted Gumbo during a visit to New Orleans almost 20 years ago and fell in love with thick, spicy vegetable soup. Rather than add seafood, I decided to add chicken and use up some of the vegetables from my garden.
I started off by chopping okra, tomatoes, bell peppers and banana peppers. I added the vegetables to a slow cooker, topped them off with some chicken broth and added a can of Benita Mexican Fiesta Diced Tomatoes (on sale at Aldi this week) to ensure that the mix was really spicy enough. I had bought some chicken thighs at Aldi as well. I cut those up into bite size pieces, removed the bone and quickly seared them in a non-stick pan to make sure they were not raw inside anymore before adding them to broth.
I let this mixture simmer for about 2 hours, then added shortly before serving a can of peas. To thicken the soup some more, I had made a light brown roux out of butter and flour that I added to the soup to achieve a nice, thick consistency. I brought the soup back up to a quick boil and then served it with some crackers and toasted bread.
The soup was absolutely delicious. Even though it is still summer, we had a gray and rainy day. So I decided it was the right time for soup and okra makes me always think of gumbo.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the thick goodness of homemade gumbo

copyright Durhamonthecheal - lots of fresh veggies, some chicken and spices!
To learn more about gumbo and what makes gumbo gumbo, you can check out wikipedia here. And to see how Emeril makes a gumbo with shrimp and sausage, you can check out his Country File Gumbo here. Most importantly, you can always make up your recipe to create a thick and spicy vegetable soup with some meat. As long as it tastes, you may call it gumbo and no one will ever know the difference!

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