Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gumbo in the Crock Pot ~ Low and Slow

Gumbo is one of my favorite Louisiana dishes and it has been a challenge to decide on which recipe to post today. There are so many different recipes for Gumbo, however traditionally there are two basic types. Creole Gumbo, which is similar to a stew made with tomatoes, shellfish and a roux. The other is Cajun Gumbo, spicier than the Creole version and contains, ham, sausage, shellfish or poultry, usually whatever is available, and of course loads of spice! Some Gumbos have the consistency of soup rather than a stew. Also very important to any Gumbo is the “Holy Trinity” onion, bell peppers and celery which are the basis for many recipes in Louisiana. 

I have several different recipes for Gumbo and since I am trying to encourage people to cook I decided on my easy Gumbo recipe using a slow cooker. I prefer to use fresh vegetables and herbs whenever they are available; however I have created this recipe which is very flavorful and easy to make using some frozen vegetables and dried herbs. I always use dried herbs in the crock pot so they can slowly infuse.

Great with a slice of crusty French bread, my cool cucumber salad or Mardi Gras Salad! The spices in the Gumbo are even richer the day after you cook it. I prepare a large batch a couple days prior to a party and place it in the refrigerator, or I freeze the Gumbo to have on hand any time. 

My basic rule for entertaining whether it is friends or family is to prepare most of the food prior to the day of the party. 
Keep is simple and fun! Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~ Mardi Gras Menu
        2 lbs chicken breasts, If they are really large cut in half’s ~ As the chicken cooks it will be easy to break apart, rather like shredded chicken, this is the best easiest way I found to cook the chicken
        Andouille or Chicken Sausages cut into bite size pieces, 12 to 14 oz package
        1 medium yellow onion, diced
        2 large bell peppers diced
         Or One 8 ounce bag of frozen bell peppers and sliced onion mix (You can usually find this in the frozen food section at your market under stir fry or vegetables)
        4 celery stalks cleaned and diced
        1 cup tomato sauce or spicy tomato juice
        4 cups of low sodium organic chicken broth
        2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
         Like real spicy? This is your Gumbo so spice it up according to your taste
        4 to 6 fresh garlic gloves, diced~ I like lots of garlic
         Or 2 Tablespoons of diced garlic in a jar
        Grated Parmesan to sprinkle on the cooked Gumbo
        Option ~ This Gumbo recipe is great with or without seafood
         1 lb Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
        2 cups cooked rice , I like brown rice
Cooking Instructions: 
        Cut the chicken and sausage into bite size pieces and place in the crock pot
        In a large bowl stir together the tomato juice, chicken broth, diced tomatoes with juice, Cajun seasoning, garlic, diced peppers, onions and celery. Pour this mixture over the chicken and sausage, stir
        Turn the crock pot/slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours
        When the Gumbo is just about done cook the rice per the package
        Place 1/4 cup of rice in each bowl and cover with a cup of Gumbo
        If you are including shrimp add to the crock pot three to four minutes before you serve the Gumbo. Stir and serve!

         Shellfish allergies? Cook the fish separately and each person can add to their Gumbo. Yes, Make it your own!

Kary's Mardi Gras 2015 Kary's Mardi Gras 2013 Kary's Mardi Gras 2012

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