Slow Cooker Gumbo
April 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
E: We figured it was time that Nombudsman did a gumbo, so here it is. I know very little about gumbo, and so I do not expect this is the best recipe out there. (If you have a favorite recipe, please let us know!) However it passed our test, so with some adjustment of the spices to your liking it should at least be good, on the road to fantastic. It also makes a lot if you follow the amounts shown here. I mean a lot. We got 3-4 dinners for two out of the total amount, plus there is still a little in the freezer.
The overall process is quite easy, in part because of the slow cooker. I think the gumbo would have had deeper, more developed flavors if we had cooked the onions, peppers and celery in some oil first, and gotten some nice color on them. But then it wouldn’t have been such a hands-off process.
I should note that we didn’t use any seafood or seafood stock in this, so it would be good for people who don’t like those things. The only meat we added was a couple chicken andouille sausages, which honestly were a) an unknown, impulse purchase, b) not the best as they were pre-cooked and a bit rubbery and therefore c) were not a big component of the dish’s flavor. On the plus side, that means you could do this as a vegetarian recipe without any loss at all. And if you are going to use andouille, for goodness’ sake don’t make our mistake, and get some better sausages.
~1/3 cup cooking oil
~1/3 cup flour
5 roma tomatoes, in eighths
2 yellow onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño peppers, finely diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
a handful of okra (about 8-10 pods)
5 stalks celery
3 chicken andouille sausages
1 cup rice (we used half brown rice, half wild rice)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans beans
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/3 tsp. cumin
1/3 tsp. ground mustard (or add more of any spices you like)
salt (at least 1/2 tsp.) and pepper, to taste
Start by washing all the vegetables.
Then start chopping. You may be here a while. Feel free to just add everything to a bowl as you finish it. Here you can see all the peppers, the onion, garlic, celery, and the barest hint of tomatoes peeking out from the top right.
We used a small amount of okra here as a test run. Neither of us had cooked with it before, but I had been told that it could be made less slimy by soaking it in vinegar before cooking. We sliced it up, soaked it in about half-rice-vinegar, half-water until we were ready to put it into the slow cooker (about 20 minutes). I would have used distilled vinegar, and diluted it a little more, but we didn’t have any on hand. Just before adding it, we drained it, and ran it under cold water while rubbing the individual pieces to remove the slime. It seemed to work!
When the chopping is complete, start making the roux. Add the oil to a pan or small pot and get it heating. When the oil is hot, add the flour and whisk it in.
Let the mixture bubble and cook for a little while (10 minutes or so) until it is a brown color—it should smell fragrant. You can now get the slow cooker set up, and add the roux to it.
Now just add everything else. Stock, vegetables, rice, beans, sausages (if you are using them) . . . everything. Pile it in, and then mix it up. You won’t get the roux fully incorporated into the stock, but the cooking will handle that.
Set the slow cooker on high for 3 hours or so, or low for longer (maybe 6). If you added sausages or meat, make sure they are cooked, but otherwise it is just a bunch of vegetables. It should be pretty evident when it is done.
Serve with some delicious cornbread and top with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, or other spices of your choosing. You could even try adding some cheese (because what isn’t good with cheese?).
Enjoy! And send us any suggestions you have, if you like to make gumbo a particular way.