Recipe - Gumbo (Guest Post)

My friend Jimmy is too cool. Here's another guest post from him!

"Hey y'all!  Remember when Minerva mentioned having gumbo in her 'Entertaining' post and promised to post the recipe a little while later?  Since then, y'all have probably been refreshing your browsers every hour to see if Minerva came through with her promise.  Well, after much anticipation, I am glad to say that the wait is over!  Below is a recipe for an incredibly easy gumbo recipe that I adapted from Cook's Country, one of my personal favorite food sources.

First off, I admit that I have never been to Louisiana, so this recipe is not authentic by any means.  It's more of a cheater's way of making gumbo.  The dark roux is not traditionally made over the stove and the addition of fish sauce makes the recipe seem quite... fishy.  Don't worry, though.  These changes were made to make the process of cooking gumbo much simpler and safer (cooking a dark roux for gumbo can be dangerous if it splatters).  After all, who wants to spend 45 minutes over a stove, whisking roux?  (I don't.)

(Cheater's) Gumbo
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 10-12

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Toast flour over medium heat in large pot (preferably a Dutch oven) for 5 minutes. Whisk every minute to avoid burning the flour.  Take off heat.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk oil into toasted flour.  Put on oven-safe lid and place into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour (the roux should be as dark as an old penny).  Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and meats. 

1 large onion, diced
1.5 rib of celery, diced
2 green bell peppers, cut into larger dices

Take out Dutch oven and add the onions, celery, and bell pepper (a.k.a. the "Holy Trinity") to the roux on medium heat.  Cook until softened (10 minutes). 

1 tbsp flour
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme (or any herb you like)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix into pot.

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
3.75 cups chicken broth
.25 cup fish sauce

Add to pot and whisk together.

4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin and fat removed
Submerge in pot and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.  Take out and cut into bite sized pieces. Return to pot. 

8-12 oz andouille sausage, sliced (1/4 inch)
2 cups chopped frozen okra
2 lbs extra large shrimp

Add to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve over steamed white rice.

Notes:  Feel free to change the quantity of herbs, cayenne, and meats to your liking.  Chicken or vegetarian sausage can be substituted for andouille.  If the gumbo will be refrigerated and reheated at a later time, I suggest cooking the shrimp separately; reheating the shrimp multiple times will transform them into pink rubber.

Hope y'all like this recipe!  Next up: Cheater's sushi!  (Just kidding.)"

Photographs taken by Duc Duong.