Welcome to Missouri in March—yesterday it was 70 degrees, today it’s snowing. Tomorrow, it will be 50 degrees. The day after that? Locusts, probably. But we might as warm our bellies with some delicious gumbo while it stays cool outside!
I got a pressure cooker for Christmas last year, and imagine my joy to find a recipe for shrimp gumbo in the recipe booklet that came with it! Since then, it’s been my new favorite way to make gumbo. The shrimp version is much quicker, but I was craving chicken & sausage instead.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time now, you know that I love to experiment with Cajun fusion dishes and making healthier versions of dishes… but when it comes to gumbo, I’m pretty much a purist. Oh, sure, there was the gumbo risotto that one time (which was delish), but in general, I am a stickler:
- Nothing WEIRD in the gumbo – if it contains corn, potatoes, carrots…essentially anything other than the Holy Trinity, okra & meat, it’s not a gumbo. Throwing okra into a soup does not a gumbo make.
- No tomatoes. Gumbo should be roux-based and brown. Tomato-based “gumbos” tend to be too thin & a bit acidic, in my opinion.
- If you can see through it, it’s not a gumbo. A good gumbo should be as muddy as the Mighty Mississippi.
That being said, there are always “bends” that can be made to the rules to make a good gumbo that’s still a bit “healthed up”.
- Quality ingredients (use organic or home-grown peppers & celery if you can)
- Use chicken breast rather than thigh meat to save on fat
- Use good quality chicken or turkey sausage/andouille for the same reason
- Use instant roux to save some extra fat as well
- Serve with brown rice instead of white.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 6 large servings)
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 lb chicken or turkey smoked sausage (andouille if you can find it), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil (as needed)
- 1 onion, diced (I used a mix of red & yellow)
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I used both red & green since that’s what I had on hand)
- 1 large stalk of celery, diced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup instant roux
- 2.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, unsalted (or 2 cups regular + 1 cup water)
- 10 oz chopped okra, strung*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or more to taste after cooking)
In your pressure cooker, brown the sausage over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then remove from the pot with a slotted spoon to reserve any of the oil from the sausage, and set aside. Add the chicken to the pot—if the sausage was very lean, add a splash of olive oil to the pot to help the chicken brown without sticking. Cook through (about 6 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot using a slotted spoon. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, 1/2 cup water and instant roux to the pot, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
While that’s going, “string” (aka sauté) your okra. This is a step taught to me by one of my regular customers at Martin’s in New Orleans. Okra is inherently slimy once cooked, so it’s helpful to cook some of this sliminess out before adding it to your gumbo. Place the okra in a large skillet over medium-low heat & stir occasionally. Eventually, you’ll see “strings” of clear liquid forming between the pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes, then you can add it to the rest of the ingredients. The stringing process will likely brown the okra some, which only helps add to the flavor.
Add the meat, okra, stock, water and spices to the pot, stir, and place the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then remove from heat & allow to depressurize (about 15 minutes).
Serve 1 cup gumbo w/ 1/2 cup of rice, with a side of potato salad (recipe coming soon), and hey, some pickled okra for fun. And don’t forget the fresh French bread!
Total Fat 10.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 86.8 mg
Sodium 998.8 mg
Potassium 454.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.0 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 3.6 g
Protein 33.8 g