For five and a half years, work really sucked. But I have nice coworkers now. Like, really nice. My publisher is laid-back and friendly and values my opinions and contributions. My editor is hands-off, allowing me to follow my own stories and work autonomously, without constant micromanaging. And I get to work again with a dear, dear friend, Brooke.
When I first worked with Brooke nine years ago, she basically ate Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets. She wouldn't even eat a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. She's come a looooong way. A few weeks ago she dropped a giant bag of okra from her grandpa's garden onto my desk, and gave me an okra gumbo recipe to go with it.
B and I have a gumbo recipe we like, but I'm always up for new foods. And this one was terrific. I added a lot more spice than it called for, because hi, it's us. Also, I had a TON of okra (way more than the recipe called for), so I added a can of tomato sauce because it needed some additional liquid. As it was, it burned to the bottom of the pot. It didn't affect the taste of the gumbo, but clean-up was a nightmare. You've been warned.
You could easily add chicken, shrimp, or sausage to this if you wanted to beef it up a little (pun intended). I didn't, because I just didn't feel like it, but I froze two 2-portion servings. We can always cook up some sausage or something, thaw out the frozen gumbo, and mix it together.
The bottom line? This is a delicious gumbo that will allow you to take advantage of late-summer produce and serve it well into fall. Thanks, Brookie!
E & B
brooke's okra gumbo
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
8 ounces fresh okra (at least - I used much more)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning (if you can find filé powder use that, but I couldn't find it)
2 bay leaves
a sprinkle of Trader Joe's South African spice seasoning
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in garlic, onion, and green bell pepper, and saute until tender.
Stir in okra, mushrooms, diced tomatoes and their liquid, tomato paste, tomato sauce, Creole seasoning (or filé powder), bay leaves, and all the spices.
Cook, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
Heat two remaining tablespoons oil on a medium skillet over medium heat.
Stirring constantly, add four and cook 2-5 minutes, or until a golden brown roux has formed.
Spoon the roux into the okra mixture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 more minutes until thickened.
This made roughly six servings, each at 115 or so calories. Plus, one serving has 70 percent of your daily vitamin C goal.
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.