Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Perfect Paleo Gumbo

I love soups... chicken soup, beef soup, chili, mushroom soup, maryland crab soup, cioppino...  I love them all!  This past winter, I attempted to make some gumbo!  We have some good friends who are from New Orleans who KNOW how to make some authentic dishes.  One day, I was just craving some anduille sausage and figured I'd try my hand at some gumbo.  I shot a quick text message to Angele asking her for any tips when making gumbo.  She immediately called me back and asked me if I had a pen and paper to take notes!  I combined a bunch of different recipes and made a DELICIOUS gumbo.  Here's my version of

Pefect Paleo Gumbo

* 1 bag frozen chopped okra
* 1 whole roasting chicken
* 1 large onion, diced
* 1 lb peeled shrimp
* 1 lb anduille sausage
* 1 lb lump crabmeat
* 1/4 cup bacon grease
* 2 cups seafood stock
* 1 can diced tomatoes
* 3 ribs celery , diced
* 1 green pepper, diced
* 6 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 tsp cayenne
* 1 tsp paprika
* 2 tbs creole seasoning (I used Zatarains)

Before you get started, you'll want to cook the whole chicken.  I just threw the chicken in a big pot and covered it with cold water.  Then I put a pinch of salt and pepper in the water and coverfed the whole thing with a lid and let it boil.  It took a while to cook the whole thing, but you want to boil and cook the chicken.  Once it's cooked all the way, you can remove the chicken from the water (but save the water- you'll want the flavor for later!!!).  Then, pick through the chicken and set the meat aside because you will use this for your gumbo.

I started off the gumbo by putting the bacon grease in a large heavy bottom pot.  Once it was liquidy, I added in the okra.  I put it in still frozen because it will obviously thaw out once it cooks through.  You'll want to start this early because the okra needs to cook for a while.  As it cooks, you will notice that it's getting slimy... you can literally see the slime stuff on your spoon as you stir it up.  Don't fear! Keep going... the slimey stuff will eventually go away, leaving a deliciously flavored okra that helps to thicken the gumbo.

While the okra is cooking down, you can dice the onion and the garlic as well as the green pepper and the celery.  Once the okra is past the slimy part, you can add in the onions and the garlic. Let it cook down and get all soft and cooked.  This is definitely a slow process that you don't want to rush! 

Stir in the celery and the green peppers and cook everything down.  I didn't want any crunch in my gumbo, so I just kept adding in a bit of bacon grease when it all seemed to dry up.  I didn't have to add too much extra, just enough so that the veggies didn't brown and crisp up.  I just wanted them sauteed and soft.

Next, I added in the can of diced tomatoes.  I always use the organic, salt free tomatoes that are diced.  You could probably use fresh tomatoes if you want, but I just had canned... so that's what went in!  I mixed it all together and started seeing some promising results!

I added in the seafood stock (which I make from scratch, but you can certainly buy).  I like my soups very liquidy, so I added in about another 2-4 cups of the water that was reserved from cooking the chicken.  You can add in chicken broth, or skip this step altogether if you'd rather have yours more chunky. 

Then, in went the reserved chicken meat that I left in nice bite sized chunks.

I also threw in the shrimp and crabmeat.  The first time I made this gumbo, I used chicken, shrimp, and anduille sausage... unfortunately, the grocery store I went to didn't have anduille sausage... btutI remembereed Angele saying that she used crabmeat sometimes... so I took a trip to the seafood department and picked up a pound of crab meat!  Being a girl from the Md area, I love crab and decided that it would be a nice addition!  So in went some crab.

I stirred it all together and let the shrimp cook through (which only took a few minutes).  I then added in the cayenne and paprika. 

I also added in the creole seasoning. I love spices so I actually added in a lot more than 2 tbs, but you should really add it to your own personal taste.  There are tons of different creole spices you can use, but this stuff was what the store had, so in it went!  It was pretty darn tasty!


So here's the finished project!  Seafood gumbo!  It was soooo delicious... I'm definitely a fan of gumbo now :)  Now I will say that, traditionally, gumbos need a roux which is basically a cooked paste of flour and butter. Flour, as we know, is definitely not paleo, so I just omitted this part.  I thought it still tasted great and didn't miss it at all.  If you want to make the gumbo thicker, you could probably add in some tapioca starch or something gluten free... but I didn't think that the lack of a roux detracted in any way shape or form. 


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