Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to make an okra gumbo!

How I make okra gumbo...

Clean and slice 2 quarts of okra.  Cook in 300 degree oven (in a covered roasting pot) for about 2 hours. Add 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil and stir.  Check okra about every 15 – 20 minutes and stir well. 
It will reduce to about half of the volume you started with.
(I usually do about 6 – 8 quarts at a time and freeze it in quart bags)

Transfer smothered okra to a large pot on the stove.  Continue to cook with a medium heat allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Deglaze with water each time.  This will give your gumbo the brown color you want.  It will take about an hour. I use a wooden spatula so I can scrape the bottom of the pot.

Add frozen seasoning pack (diced onions, bell peppers and celery) .  I use 8 oz of this seasoning.  Cook with okra for about 25 minutes until tender.  It will continue to stick and you have to deglaze it several times.

If the okra is still slimy you can add a few teaspoons of white vinegar.  This will help cut the slime.  You might have to do this a couple of times.  The vinegar will steam out of the mix and will not affect the taste of the gumbo.

Once the okra is not slimy anymore, add ½ teaspoon of salt and a little black pepper. 
(adding roux is optional but I usually use it to help thicken the gumbo.)  In a cup of boiling water dissolve 2 tablespoons of dry roux.  Add this dissolved roux and 1-2 quarts of water to the okra.  If you are making chicken gumbo, you can use some chicken stock in  place of some of the water.  Allow this to boil at a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.  Continue to stir about every 15-20 minutes.

At this point you can add the meat you want to use. 

I used seafood in this gumbo that I made today.

Chicken or seafood?

Chicken – I use  a rotisserie chicken that I have deboned and removed the skin. 
If you prefer to use fresh chicken, boil your chicken, keep the stock and debone the chicken before putting it in the gumbo.
If you use chicken, simmer the gumbo for about 30 - 45 minutes on a low heat.
I usually add 1/2 pound of smoked sausage that I have sliced and browned to the chicken gumbo.  Sausage adds a great flavor.

Seafood  - I use a pound of peeled and devained shrimp with a pound of lump crab meat.
If you have shrimp that you have to peel, keep the heads and shells and boil them to make some stock.  If you are making seafood gumbo, you can add a few drops ( no more than 1/8 teaspoon) of liquid crab boil if you do not have shrimp stock.  If you use shrimp and crab meat, simmer for about 20 minutes.  If you boil it too long, the shrimp and crab meat tend to disappear into the liquid.  I sometimes just use shrimp but crab adds a nice flavor.  
Serve over rice.  We like to have potato salad with our gumbo along with some french bread!

Try it, it is not difficult at all.  It just takes some time!
Gumbo also freezes well.  Use within 1-2 months.

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