Sunday, September 12, 2010

Slow cooker gumbo - Louisiana fare the easy way! + recipe

Kenny's been bugging me for awhile to make gumbo, something I had never made or even tasted before. I was willing to try, but with our schedules the way they are, I wasn't willing to stand over the stove for any great length of time in the evening, losing precious time that could be spent playing with Wyatt, doing homework, making baby food, etc. So, I searched the information super highway for a slow cooker gumbo recipe and found quite a bit to work with!

Kenny's family is from Louisiana, so he's used to having really great, authentic Cajun and creole cuisine. No competition, right?

I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised with how my slow cooker gumbo turned out. I had my reservations about it, but with a little tweaking, I think this will become a great stand-by recipe. Kenny liked it, too, and he's super picky about his gumbo. Actually, he's super picky about everything, defying my logic about all things male...

I used this recipe as a guide:

3 cups chicken broth
1 lb chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 lb spicy sausage, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cups okra, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
salt to taste

1/3 cup flour
1/3 oil

I omitted the okra, added chopped tomato, left out the red pepper, and subbed garlic powder since I didn't have any garlic on hand. I'll probably use okra next time, and may or may not add tomato. I liked it, but Kenny didn't care for it.

I also didn't make the roux from scratch, like I thought I would. Kenny found instant roux at the grocery store, so I used that instead.

For homemade roux, stir together the flour and oil in a saucepan until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. (Important!) Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly (!), for about 15 minutes more or until roux is dark reddish brown. Let roux cool.

Add the chicken broth to your slow cooker, and stir in homemade or instant roux. Add all other ingredients, cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice. You could also add shrimp towards the end of the cooking process. Just add them to the slow cooker about 20 minutes before you plan to eat.

This made a lot! I made this on Thursday, and we finished up the leftovers this afternoon. Of course, there's just the two of us, but we did go back for seconds quite a bit!

I can't stress enough just how much my slow cooker helps bring a little more order into my hectic schedule. If you don't already have one, it's well worth the investment!

-Mother Nature Mom

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