Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I want to like okra, I really do. I love how sliced okra looks--so pretty if you can ignore the slime dripping from each slice. All summer we've left our okra in the trade box or snuck it into friends' refrigerators. I decided a week or two again that it was time to use okra at least once this summer. Instead of going for the classic tomato/okra/hamburger skillet meal, I went for the other okra classic, gumbo.
See it turns out, that gumbo actually means okra. Countless gumbo recipes abound---some New Orleans' style others more African in style. I went for the New Orleans Style and found a recipe that could be made in a crockpot as well. Despite my original intentions, I didn't end up making this in a crockpot, but am including those directions because I just might make this recipe again sometime.
We all ate it. I wouldn't say anyone of us loved the entire dish. Curtis and I tolerated the okra. We tried to deny its existence in the meal. (Curtis informed me it would be much better without the okra. I told him in which case, it wouldn't be gumbo). M ate the chicken and shrimp out of it. J ate some of it. Little I picked at his, eating some of it, but it was hard to discern exactly what. I had it three days afterwards as leftovers and the okra started to grow on me. I'll make this again and we'll probably tolerate the okra again. Maybe, eventually, we just might like this dish--all parts of it.
This serves 6 - 8 if served over rice.
adapted from WholeFoodsMarket.com
4 T canola oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into 1" pieces
4 T unbleached flour
1 c onion, diced
1 c green pepper, diced
1/2 c celery, diced
2 c fresh okra, sliced
2 c chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 lb cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2" rounds
1 lb large shrimp, peeled (you could use significantly less--I used more for M's sake)
Brown the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper in 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining 3 T oil to skillet and heat until hot. Add floor and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown 3 - 4 minutes. It should be about the color of peanut butter. Add the onion, green pepper, celery, and okra.
For a slow cooker: Cook onion, etc for 2 minutes or until the vegetables start to wilt. Add the chicken broth and stir until smooth and incorporated. Transfer mixture very carefully (to not burn yourself) into slow cooker. Add the okra, bay leaves, tomatoes, and browned chicken along with any juices left in bowl. Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, add the sausage and turn cooker to high. Add the shrimp 5 minutes before serving. Serve over cooked rice with plenty of Tabasco.
For stove top: Carefully stir in chicken broth to onion mixture. Return chicken and any juices to the pan. Add chicken sausage, bay leaves, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook another 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked. Serve over rice with plenty of Tabasco.