Many dishes are made up as they go along rather than follow a recipe; and tonight’s gumbo was just that. I had bought fresh okra from the Dupont Circle Farmer’s market and knew that I wanted to make something with it. One of my favorite ways to prepare it is to brown it over high heat in a cast iron frying pan with just a little bit of olive oil. Served hot or cold with salt, it is delicious.
I had chicken in the refrigerator so I used it; but a classic gumbo is also made with shrimp; so you can substitute one for the other.
Gumbo often as chorizo sausage along with the shrimp or chicken; but this is optional since the Cajun spices give that chorizo-like kick.
Other times I don’t want to spend the time browning and gumbo is the perfect way to prepare okra. I knew I wanted okra, fresh tomatoes, and onions in the dish; but other than that I wasn’t sure. I found some fresh corn which had been taken off the cob and frozen and decided to throw that it. I found a piece of roast chicken in the refrigerator and caught a glimpse of a package of bacon. All good ingredients. The result – a simple, easy, and very tasty gumbo.
Gumbo With Chicken
* 1/2 lb. (approx.) fresh okra left whole
* 2 medium fresh tomatoes, quartered
* 2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
* 1 piece chicken – this can be any part of a previously-roasted chicken
* (1/2 lb. fresh Gulf shrimp can be used as an alternative to the chicken)
* (2 chorizo sausages cut into 1” pieces can also be added; but if so, put in less Cajun spice)
* 1 Tbsp. Cajun spice (more may be added according to taste)
* 1 Tbsp. garlic flakes
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 5 shakes hot pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
* 1/2 cup fresh corn stripped from cob (canned or frozen corn will do)
- Put all the ingredients into a large pot with 2 cups of water and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. REMEMBER: the chorizo sausage goes well with both chicken and shrimp, so you can add it with either ingredient. Just be sure to adjust the spices. You can make the gumbo with chicken, chorizo, and shrimp; but this may be too much. I would stick with the chicken or shrimp.
The dish is done when the okra is soft and the liquid has been reduced by half so that the sauce is thick.
- Taste every so often to adjust for taste, especially the Cajun spice, garlic, and hot pepper