One Pot New Orleans-Style Gumbo (THM S/E)
I'm a spicy gal and although I wasn't born in Louisiana, creole cuisine of New Orleans speaks to me on a spiritual level.
Gumbo is one of my favorite, warming meals because it's spicy, hearty, and still packs a veggie punch. Also, this is one of those meals that you can cook (a bunch of) one night, and when you're eating its leftovers a few nights later the flavor is even deeper - it only gets better with time! However, my favorite part of this meal is definitely that it only takes one (big) pot. Because I still hate doing dishes ^_^.
Start by heating a large Dutch oven over medium low heat, and add the sliced smoked sausage. I used andouille, which is a creole spicy sausage. If you're not into the spice, any smoked sausage will do. Since it's already cooked, you just want to sauté it enough to get some color and crispness on the outside.
Take the sausage out, add some coconut oil if needed, and begin sautéing the cubed chicken. It doesn't have to cook all the way through since it will simmer in the gumbo later. Just make sure it has some good color on it, and season with salt and pepper or a touch of Cajun seasoning.
Take the chicken out, then start on the shrimp. I bought easy-peel shrimp from my fish counter at Sprouts, which are already deveined. You can keep the tails, or whole shell, on if you wish. I find it easier to remove the whole shell, tail included, prior to cooking. Add more coconut oil to the pan, if needed before adding the shrimp. Again, season with salt and pepper and sauté away. Cook them about 1 minute on each side, just to get good color. They won't be fully cooked yet, but once you add them back to the gumbo they'll finish cooking without becoming overcooked.
Remove the shrimp. Next comes the vegetables! Don't worry about the brown bits on the bottom of your Dutch oven - that's flavor, and the stock we add later will pick it all up.
Chop some mirepoix - celery (leafy green parts included!), onion, green bell pepper, and garlic.
Add a touch more coconut oil, turn the heat down just a touch and add the vegetables. Sauté until onions just start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.
And, I'll go ahead and tell you, I'm a bad Southerner - I greatly dislike okra. Unless it's pureed, in a cookie, or otherwise hidden beyond recognition I cannot stomach it. HOWEVER. You are welcome to add okra to this lovely gumbo if it is your thing. If you do add it, go ahead and do so at this step.
De-glaze the pan with one 15-oz can of fire roasted tomatoes. I like the smoky flavor of fire roasted tomatoes, but you're welcome to use any kind you prefer. Mine also were seasoned with garlic and onion. Add in the chicken (or vegetable/seafood) stock, a bay leaf, sausage, chicken, Worcestershire sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Place the lid on your pot and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
Once it's finished simmering, turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pot, cover again and let stand for about 5-7 minutes. This will allow the shrimp to continue cooking through slowly.
Serve the gumbo as is or over a big pile of cauliflower rice. For my cauliflower rice, I pulsed half a large head of cauliflower in a food processor until it was in small pearls. Then I served it raw underneath the hot gumbo - easy peasy! I liked it raw because it didn't become mushy from cooking and retained a nice textural contrast like rice.
As is, the gumbo is a great S. However, if you want to have the rice and make it an E - that's completely achievable. You can either choose a smoked turkey/chicken sausage with less fat, or leave it out completely and make this a chicken and shrimp gumbo - your call. Just make sure any time you're adding coconut oil that you do so with a spray to keep the fat in check.
Either way you make it, this gumbo is a spicy, hearty, and delicious shake-up to your weekly routine. The leftovers just get better with time - this is a meal you can make on Monday and still enjoy on Friday.