Saturday, April 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Gumbo

I'm not a gumbo fan, but my darling husband is. It can be a million degrees outside, but if we are at a restaurant that has gumbo, he's going to order it, complete with hot sauce and saltine crackers (much to my embarrassment at a very nice steakhouse!) Still, I have never tried making it before. After a recent inventory of the freezer I discovered about a hundred things of okra so I decided it was time to try my hand at gumbo to use some of it up.

Now I know that "real" gumbo starts with a roux and all that jazz. But I just didn't have the time or patience for that this time around, so I found a slow cooker recipe from Food Network. However, I knew I wasn't going to stick to this recipe either, it was just a starting place.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the thing I love best about slow cooker recipes is that there is no "technique". You just get it all in and turn it on. This recipe was great because it required very little prep on my part. The bell pepper was frozen from our garden last year and the tomatoes were canned. The okra was frozen from my in-laws garden. The thyme was fresh from my herb garden right now. The onion broth was a recipe I tried a while back, and while I mentioned making it, I haven't ever shared the recipe, so stay tuned for that. This is probably the closest to "real food cooking" I have ever come and it feels nice!

1 package chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), cut into small pieces
1 package frozen okra
1/2 smoked sausage, cut into small pieces
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
6 cubes onion broth
1 pint tomatoes
2 Tbsp cajun seasoning (I used my own blend but there are plenty of good ones from the store)
1 bay leaf
Fresh thyme

Cook on low at least 5 hours. Check on it and stir it occasionally. If you added the chicken breasts whole, start shredding after about hour 3.
Serve over rice (I saw one comment on the original that suggested adding your uncooked rice to the pot about 2 hours before eating if you like the one-pot meal option. I didn't do that but thought I' would pass it along anyway!) Jeff ate two bowls and gave it a big thumbs up!

If you try it, let me know what you think. If you change it up, let me know what you did. Hubby may like your version better!

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