Jennie’s Gumbo

While this is not a true Cajun or Creole gumbo recipe since I can’t find okra around these parts year-round, I came up with my own version of the delicious Southern staple. Aside from okra, a typical gumbo often calls for crabmeat and beef bouillon. Since I’m not a fan crabmeat or anything that has to do with beef, I instead used chicken and chicken bouillon. I also cut back on the amount of Tabasco sauce used in most gumbo recipes. While I love spicy food, it doesn’t always agree with some people (namely, my boyfriend). Regardless, you can always add more hot sauce if you can stomach it. And while I used Cajun-flavored chicken sausage, any kind of sausage (andouille being the most common gumbo sausage) will do. Also, if you can find file gumbo powder, use that in place of the cornstarch.

1 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup bacon grease 
1 cup coarsely chopped celery 
1 large onion, coarsely chopped 
1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
3 quarts water 
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt 
1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce 
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning blend
4 bay leaves 
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves 
1 - 14-1/2 oz. can stewed tomatoes 
1 - 8-oz. can tomato sauce 
4 tsp. cornstarch, divided
1 pound precooked pork or chicken sausage, sliced 
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp, peeled 
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 

Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon grease together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color, about 10 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking. Place the celery, onion, green pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor or into a blender and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Bring the water and chicken bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer. Mix in the sugar, salt, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch at the 45-minute mark. Add the sausage, chicken and shrimp, along with the Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended (about 30-45 more minutes). Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of cornstarch.


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