Monday, October 12, 2009

Tracy's Gumbo (Courtesy of Paula Deen)

I adapted this recipe from one I picked up from Paula Deen and provide you with the original ingredients and then how I modified it – mostly replacing with healthier fats and meats. I love to make this dish on a weekend when it first starts to cool and there’s great football to watch all day!

My best advice for this dish is to take your time. The roux is the most critical part of the whole thing and you don’t want to rush through it or the flavors won’t blend properly. You can play around with the amounts of veggies and meats to taste – but don’t mess with the roux – that’s what makes this dish.

Paula’s Original Recipe

Tracy’s Modifications

3 large chicken breasts

boneless and skinless

1 lb Smoked Sausage

Hillshire Farms Smoked Turkey Sausage

¼ c Vegetable Oil

Canola Oil

Salt and Pepper


½ c All Purpose Flour


5 tbsp Margarine

Crisco Butter Sticks and not the full amount – more like 4 tbsp.

1 chopped onion

1 bag Frozen chopped onion at the supermarket and I use the whole thing

8 Cloves Minced Garlic

I use the stuff in the jar and eyeball three to four spoonfuls

1 Green Bell Pepper seeded and chopped


3 stalks celery chopped

I usually use more about 5 or I get the celery hearts from the grocery and just chop the whole thing

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce


¼ bunch flat leaf parsley chopped

I use a ½ bunch – I chop of the leafy green tops and chop it in a mini prep

4 c hot water


5 beef bouillon cubes

Knorr’s Big Cubes in Veggie (not beef )

1 -14oz can stewed tomatoes in juice

Muirs Organic Petite Diced – drained

2 c. frozen sliced Okra

Use a 1 lb bag

4 green onions sliced – green and white parts

Whole bunch plus more to garnish

½ lb small shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked

At least 1 lb and more like 2 lbs per batch – the small ones though. See notes to prepare these fresh below


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. I put the chicken on a plate and cover with some tin foil – it still cooks that way and stays warm and juicy before it goes back in the pot. After the chicken is removed, add the sausage and brown that, then remove.

Sprinkle flour over the oil and add 2 tbsp of the margarine (Crisco) and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly, until brown about 10 minutes (my cooktop and Dutch oven are about 8 so you want this brown but not burnt keep an eye on it). Remove from heat and let the roux cool – I give it about 15 minutes and use this time to prep/chop remaining ingredients.


Boil the water in a separate bowl (I use a 1 qt measuring cup) and add the bouillon cubes, set aside.

After cooling, return the roux to the stove top over low to medium heat and melt the remaining margarine (Crisco). Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook until it’s all softened and then add the Worcestershire and parsley (the whole process is about 7 to 10 minutes).

Add in the hot water and stir constantly until everything is well incorporated (about 5 minutes). Chop up the chicken (I so this while the roux is cooling) and return to the pot. Add back the sausage, too. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.


At this point, you can transfer the gumbo to a crock pot (what I did for supper club). Or you can keep it on the stove top, your choice. Add in the tomatoes and OKRA and simmer for another hour on the stove top or 2 hours on high in the crock pot. Then turn the crock pot to the warm of low setting until you are ready to serve.

I like the crock pot if there I am doing this for supper and there is a later day game that I want to watch. I cook this up in the morning and then let it simmer in the crock pot until we are ready for dinner.

If you are on the stove top, add the shrimp about 15 minutes before you serve. If you are in the crock pot (which is on low now) add in about 45 minutes (or so) before serving.


I serve over rice with corn, French or garlic bread and sometimes a salad (but there are enough veggies this way that it’s easy to go without). Great on a plate or in a bowl if you are all hanging around a tv watching a game. This tastes even better the next day and it freezes beautifully! Enjoy!

Final Note: Steamed Shrimp

I always steam my own shrimp for this recipe so they are nice and tender (I hope!). I get uncooked, unpeeled (but deveined) shrimp from the grocery. I peel the shrimp and place in a steam basked. I will cover about 4 or 5 layers and if I have more I do it in two batches. Also, bring the water to a boil BEFORE you add the steamer basket. Steam about 8 to 10 minutes with the stove top on medium to low setting (I always test one or two to be sure they are done). If you are working with multiple batches, dump the steamed shrimp into a colander to drain and cool, return water to a boil (and add more if needed) and repeat the process. Let the shrimp cool in the colander and then transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!

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