Looking for that perfect gumbo recipe to add to your collection of recipes? Try this healthy gumbo recipe that is sure to be a favorite in your house!
It is the middle of Winter here in Louisiana (Although it is 80 degrees outside- SIGH) and there is nothing better than gumbo – from shrimp/okra gumbo to chicken and sausage gumbo. You can eat gumbo year round. It is even good during the summer when you aren’t feeling too good or even when you DO feel good.
The weather outside is nasty – we are supposed to get cold weather today! FINALLY. Our Christmas was just spent with 80 degree weather. So I decided to make a chicken gumbo. Plus it is Sunday, which means I have work in the morning and I KNOW I am not going to want to cook tomorrow when I get home.
There isn’t any sausage in my gumbo because I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like running to the store. You can call my lazy today. 🙂
Now, if you are from South Louisiana you should know HOW to make a gumbo and make it taste good. Typically you start with a roux ( equal parts fat and flour) and then you brown that on a stove. The tricky thing with a roux is that you have to stand by it THE ENTIRE TIME you are browning it because it one second it turn from a nice goldy brown to burnt. From there, you have to toss it because there is nothing worse than a burnt gumbo. YUCK! This recipe uses browned flour in the oven and you add it LAST instead of putting it FIRST. That is a very important step! Other than that, making this version is relatively the same.
While I do like to make a delicious and fatty gumbo with a roux, I do like to make things healthier sooo I changed up my recipe for the gumbo. The reason that I call this “low fat” is because you only have that tsp of oil in the entire gumbo. Typically, if I would be making a traditional gumbo, I would have at LEAST 1/2 cup oil to maybe even 3/4 cup oil to make my roux. You can see the difference there! You can also adjust your seasonings as you want, but these are my personal favorites.
WHAT YOU NEED:
4 large onions
1 tsp olive oil
2 lbs chicken (can either be thigh or breast depending on if you like dark or white meat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Season All
1 Tbsp Tony’s
1 Tbsp dried Basil
1/3 cup dried Parsley
Rice (Make according to package directions)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. To make the browned flour, you have to get a pan and spread the flour on there. I didn’t actually measure this because I made extra. But it was about a cup of flour. Since I spent all this time making the browned flour I’ll save it in the fridge for the next time I make a stew or gumbo. Anyway, you spread the flour on the pan (No spray!).
This is what your pan should like once you have put the flour on the pan. You want it spread evenly that way it cooks evenly.
Once you put the flour in the oven, it needs to cook for about 15 minutes or so and then you need to take it out and stir it. The outside edges are going to turn brown WAY quicker than the inside so you need to distribute the brown flour. This was the color of my flour at 15 minutes.
I like my gumbo and stew DARK. I hate a light colored gumbo. If it is too light then I wind up adding Kitchen Bouquet. So mine has to be dark. You can continue to baking the flour until the desired color has been reached. Mine turned this color at about 35 minutes. Set the flour to the side. You’ll be using it later!
Now it’s time for the chicken. Get a pan and put water in it and put your 2 lbs chicken in. You can pre-cut it into smaller pieces, but I just toss mine in. This needs to boil until the chicken starts to fall apart. (For the record – that weird spot in my onion pot is my wooden spoon. I tend to leave it in there because it is constant stirring).
Now it is time to start on the onions. I use a lot of onions. Usually I’ll add in celery and bell peppers, but once again I didn’t have any. So I improvised. You can add them if you like.
These are my onions! You can chop them until your desired size. I like mine small so I spend too long chopping away at these onions!
Toss that in a pan with the olive oil. You really only need about a tsp or so because it helps the onions brown quicker and coats the pan so they don’t stick to the bottom while you are browning. There is something important that happens when you brown onions. You really need to stay by that pot and stir so that they don’t burn on the bottom and the top ones don’t cook. You don’t want to taste burnt onions.
(Refer to picture up above with wooden spoon left in pot! You just grab and stir while preparing everything else. You need to stir this pretty often.)
While these onions look brown, they are not near brown enough to get my gumbo to be dark enough for me. My husband used to joke that I never “Browned” my onions because if I make an alfredo or a spaghetti I only cook my onions until they are clear and not brown. Obviously, he doesn’t do any cooking. 😉
Now, that’s some browned onions! Seriously, I had to stop myself because any more than that and I probably would’ve burned them. Add a little water to this so they stop cooking so much.
It’s time for the chicken to stop cooking and be chopped up. Don’t throw away the water – remember that is your water you are putting INTO the gumbo. So take a fork and pull chicken out of the pot and place on a cutting board. Once the chicken is out pour the water into the pot with your onions.
Chop your chicken up to however small of pieces you want. Mine are pretty small. Don’t worry they’ll continue to shred while cooking in the gumbo.
Add the chicken into the pot. See that pretty brown color. That is from the brown onions.
Here are your seasoning. I put the amounts up above for what you’ll need, but in case you are feeling slightly lazy since it is Sunday: 1 tbsp season all and 1 tbsp tony’s, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp basil leaves, 1/3 cup dried parsley. Add all of this to your gumbo. Lower your heat to simmer the gumbo. It’s going to cook down for about an hour before you eat it.
While your gumbo is cooking and absorbing all those wonderful flavors, make your rice. It takes about 30 minutes to make. So I’ll leave you to your package to make your rice because I still use to trick where you put your finger in the pot and if it touches your first indention then that means it is enough water. (If you have NO idea what that means, leave a comment and I’ll put a post about how to make rice.)
Okay so an hour has passed and you’ve been stirring your gumbo every now and then. Now it’s time for that browned flour to come back out.
I used 1/3 cup of the browned flour and then filled it to the 2/3 cup mark with water. You need to blend this really well because you can have clumpy flour in the gumbo. I don’t even need to say how that will taste. Have you ever eaten flour raw? LOL.
This is what your “roux” will look like. No clumps. I used a fork to blend the flour and water. Once that’s done, just add it to the gumbo and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Your gumbo is done! Pour over rice and enjoy!
Try out this recipe year round! Let me know what you think!