In my previous sticks and bricks house life, when I cooked gumbo it was always two gigantic pots worth. Too much work to not have plenty to freeze.
Since we now have reduced room for cooking and reduced freezer space, I’ve worked diligently to reduce my gumbo size to work in our now tinier lifestyle. We’ve been in colder weather this winter than normal so I’ve cooked gumbo more often than before. I also wanted to simplify the preparation needed to make a gumbo since my original took two days to prepare. It took at least four pots of gumbo experimenting on quantities, ingredients, preparation method, etc. before I’ve settled on what Roy and I consider to be a perfect pot of Gumbo befitting a Cajun couple living on the road.
Here’s my recipe:
1 cooking hen – I like using a hen since the meat holds together much better than a chicken piece does in the prolonged gumbo cooking
2 lbs. sausage sliced – either half Andouille sausage (if you like a little hotness in your sausage) and half regular smoked sausage or 2 lbs. regular smoked sausage
bag of frozen chopped okra – you choose the size bag you like
32 oz. chicken broth container (or 32 oz. of the liquid you cook the hen in, I prefer the commercially prepared broth)
24-30 oz turkey broth container (or you can use the same amount of the liquid you cook your turkey bones in)
bag of frozen chopped onions (a container of fresh chopped onions if available)
bag of frozen chopped seasonings (celery, bell pepper, onion)
jar of chopped garlic – use 2 tablespoons full out of the jar
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 T Zatarains Gravy and Roux powder (I heard my very Cajun mother-in-law cringe from Heaven as I wrote that!)
Get everything ready to combine in the pot as follows:
Cook the hen in a pot of salted water until half cooked. Take it out, let it cool some and cut it in half. Freeze half of the hen for your next pot of gumbo. Take the remaining half and debone it putting the meat and bones to the side. I put the leg and thigh bones in the gumbo since they are not completely picked of meat and the meat left on them cooks and can be removed from the bone before serving the gumbo. I also put the skin in the gumbo since it adds a lot of flavor.
Just be sure to dip the skin and bones out before you serve it!
Reserve 32 oz. of the juice you cooked the chicken in or use a 32 oz. container of chicken broth.
Cut your sausage down the center length wise and then slice it up and put to the side.
In a separate pot cook your okra in water, salt and vinegar. The vinegar is very important as it cuts the sliminess from the okra. When cooked about half way drain and rinse. There will be no vinegar flavor if you rinse it.
If you’re not a fan of already cut onions, cut your own and have them ready for use as soon as the roux is made.
Now you’re ready to start putting your gumbo together and get it cooking!
In an 8-10 quart cooking pot, pour 2 cups of water and 4 T. of the roux powder. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes – not for many, many minutes like a normal roux takes. Add your bags of onions and seasonings and 2 T of chopped garlic (either fresh or from a jar). Stir till your seasonings are wilted. Add the chicken broth and turkey broth and stir. Add the sliced sausage and chunks of chicken to the mixture. Add some salt and pepper at this point but not much until it’s cooked for an hour or so and you can tell what it really needs. Do not add the okra until about 30 minutes before you’re ready to remove it from the heat. It will cook away and Roy doesn’t like that!!
Mostly I cook according to what Roy likes, so there may not be any reason for including an ingredient or cooking something a specific way other than knowing what Roy likes!
This is a simpler to prepare, smaller quantity gumbo without losing any of the flavor of the lengthy process, bigger quantity gumbo. It allows me to cook gumbo more often, share more of it with others and not wipe me out like the old method did. I’ve learned to use these cutbacks in cooking spaghetti sauce also. It’s amazing how the powdered roux gives the pot of food the same needed flavor that the regular roux does with only 1/10th the effort and it eliminates all the oil from the roux.
RVers, I hope this simplified RV gumbo recipe works for you. I’m thinking my friends who still live in a sticks/bricks house would love to try this also since they know now that these cheats work well and your food still tastes like you spent all day on it!
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!