It was a beautiful day and standing in my kitchen is becoming more and more enjoyable as the weather gets progressively warmer and the evenings lengthen. My workspace is cramped and inconvenient, but, nowadays with the back door open I have a view of my newly planted herbs and flowers, and it cheers me to no end. So, I made something fresh and light to go along with my mood!
I’m sure this is a far cry from how you make traditional Gumbo (I didn’t even make a roux to thicken the broth, which kept it light), but, this make-it-up-as-you-go version was bursting with flavor and mighty tasty. I cooked the shrimp separately in a hot pan with some spices and topped the dish off with them when I plated the gumbo. The shrimp retained their wonderful flavor and the tomato-y broth had a zing all it’s own. This recipe is a keeper!
You will Need: 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 sweet onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2 celery ribs including leaves, diced, 1 sweet red pepper, large dice (or long sweet pepper cut into rings), 10 oz frozen okra or 1 1/2 cups fresh okra, sliced, 14oz can whole plum tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (31-40 count per lb size), 2 tsp creole style seasoning (or 2 tsp mix of equal parts paprika, cayenne powder, dried thyme, oregano & basil leaves, salt & pepper), 4 – 5 cups cooked rice (2 cups raw approx.), 1 lime, quartered.
1 – Prep all ingredients as described above. Put 3 or 4 qt pot or deep saute pan (2″) on low/medium heat and add the oil. Saute onion and garlic for 15 minutes, until onions are very soft. Add diced celery and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
2 – Add red pepper and okra and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 – Add the tomatoes with their juices, pepper flakes and the broth and bring to a gently simmer. Cover and cook very gently for 10-15 minutes.
4 – While this is cooking, boil your rice in rice cooker or according to stove-top instructions.
5 – When Gumbo is cooked turn off heat and let it sit while you fry the shrimp. Add seasoning to the shrimp and toss well. Put saute pan on high heat and add a little olive oil. Cook shrimp for 3 minutes and take off of heat.
To serve: Place a cup or so of rice in warmed bowls, top with gumbo and divide shrimp evenly between bowls. Pass pepper flakes and lime wedges to finish everything off!