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Nov 27, 2006 10:17 PM

Favorite Gumbo Recipe? (No file or okra)

Some of the people I'm cooking for don't like okra and I don't have any file on hand. I'm planning on making a chicken, andouille, shrimp gumbo with a roux. Last time I made gumbo, I combined a bunch of recipes that I found on-line and made a butter-based dark roux. After searching here, it seems like an oil-based roux is the way to go. If I'm using a recipe that calls for okra/file and roux and want to omit the okra/file, do I need to make more roux and/or add less broth? Thanks for any recipes or advice, C-

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  1. Google Gumbo Ya Ya, and leave out the undesirable stuff.

    1. Here's a good one:

      1 hen, about 6 pounds
      8 cups water
      2 medium yellow onions, quartered
      2 ribs celery, each cut into 6 pieces
      2 bay leaves
      1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
      1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
      1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
      1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
      2 cups chopped yellow onions
      1 cup chopped green bell peppers
      1 cup chopped celery
      1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, finely chopped, plus 1 pound smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
      2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
      Cooked white rice, for serving

      In a large, heavy pot place the hen, water, quartered onions, celery pieces, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the hen is tender, about 2 hours. Remove the hen and set aside. Strain and reserve the broth.
      In a large, heavy pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is a dark, chocolate brown color, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, celery and chopped sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved chicken broth and stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

      Meanwhile, remove the skin from the hen and pick the meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Coarsely chop or tear the meat into bite size pieces. Add the chicken and the sliced sausage to the gumbo. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before skimming any fat that has risen to the surface.

      Stir in the green onions and parsley and serve the gumbo in individual soup or gumbo bowls over hot, steamed white rice.

      1. This is my favorite:

        It's an oil-based roux, no file, no okra. Heresy though it may seem, I often (okay, usually) subsitute surimi for the crab and no one's ever gotten wise to it.

        1. File is only added after a gumbo (or whatever you are putting it on) is removed from the heat. It's a table condiment usually in Louisiana. If you heat file, it gets ropey. You should have no trouble omitting it. Lots of people leave it out in LA.

          BTW, most people in Louisiana would use oil or lard for roux, not butter.

          (How can someone not like okra?)

          4 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            Thanks for the advice. I know, I think that if I secretly put the okra in and didn't mention it, it might go unnoticed. Some people think they don't like okra but they've never given it a fair chance, like in a yummy Indian dish. All they can think about is slime.

            As for the origin of the name gumbo, etc. Most gumbo I tasted in N.O. didn't have okra in it, not that I would have minded. I just want it to be spicy and to please the people I'm cooking for, people can call it what they like.

            1. re: Candice

              A sneaky okra-lover would puree some cooked okra and surreptitiously add it at the right time. The okra-phobes would be unaware and pleased at the texture.

              But you did not hear it from me.

              1. re: FoodFuser

                Many of us who loathe okra don't like it because of the texture.

                I am against tricking people into eating things they have specifically said they don't like.

                1. re: Fleur

                  I think that is a good rule in general BUT as a momma, I tend to be devious. Sometimes a "thank you portion" of a new food prepared properly is enough to convert someone.
                  Christmas time in Frankfurt I did something very subversive to my then 6 year old. Rabbit stew is a Christmas tradition in Germany. We conspired at the table and told him it was Chicken. He tasted it and liked it. If he had known it was a bunny, he would have never tried it.

          2. Question, if okra is not added, then wouldn't not really be gumbo, since it Gumbo means okra in Bantu, which is the roots of the dish?

            To address the thickening dilemna, which is what okra lends to the dish (besides texture and flavor), I would make 2 batches of roux: ONe being the dark, peanut butter color- this will impart the nice nutty flavor. Then make a blonde which will have the thickening power to compensate for the lack of okra.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Veggietales

              Well, the word is most often employed to refer to a roux-thickened soup, of which there are countless variations. I would say that a preponderance of gumbos DO NOT include okra.

              1. re: Veggietales

                If you want a nice, nutty flavor, you need to take your roux well beyond the peanut butter color. A roux taken to its extremes, so chocolatey you're almost afraid it's burnt, will add an unbelievable depth of flavor to your gumbo. It's proven to be the difference between my Louisiana uncle's smoky and spicy gumbo and my somewhat blah peanut butter-roux gumbo.