When I plan my menu for a week I try to keep Mondays as easy as possible. Going into a new week is usually hectic enough– the to-do lists, the doctor appointments, the kids’ activities! Is it the same for you?
At the same time, I like to have a nice meal at the end of the day: as in “we made it through another Monday!” There are a few dishes that I want to share that fall into this category: easy enough for a Monday night, yet a notch, or two, above a taco dinner.
Today I am sharing my go-to recipe for chicken and shrimp gumbo. We love it! It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, which is about how long it would take to have the food on your table if you go out to eat.
There is a stereotype that gumbo is one of those traditional southern dishes that take hours to make. Some die-hard southern cooks insist that “true” gumbo needs an hour for the roux to reach deep chocolate color. I would say, if you have an hour to kill, you can certainly cook it on low heat that long. But raise the heat and stir non-stop, keeping an eye on it– and 5– 7 minutes is sufficient.
A time-saving tip:
boil chicken earlier in the week or on the weekend. Use the meat and the broth throughout the week in several dishes, including this gumbo.
What you need:
*adjust the seasoning to your liking, but I recommend keeping the thyme and sage. You can replace salt and pepper with 2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning such as this one, which will make the dish spicy.
½ cup canola oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (I like bone-in chicken breasts for this. Rotisserie chicken will work too.)
2 cups frozen okra (no need to thaw)
1 pound peeled large or medium raw shrimp
How to make it:
1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until flour is chocolate colored. Do not walk away, the flour can burn very easily.
2. Stir in onion, bell pepper and celery along with the seasoning. Cook stirring for about 3 minutes until vegetables are softened.
3. Gradually stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
4. Add chicken and okra, cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add shrimp cook another 2– 3 minutes until shrimp just turn pink.
Serve over rice or with crusty bread and salad.
* omit chicken for a vegetarian version
*leave out okra if you are not a fan and increase the amount of bell pepper