I am from California. I'll admit that I've probably never had the "real thing". I imagine Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, and Alton Brown collectively laughing in my face as I attempt to make a healthy version of a Southern classic.
And yet, I attempt anyway. Gumbo without the roux? Yes, Mary Lou, it can be done! And it can be delicious. I won't make any claims of authenticity, but all the necessary components are in there, and plenty of Cajun spices give it that savory kick.
Traditional gumbo-making begins by browning some flour and a ton of fat together in the pot. This is the roux--the part that thickens. It also adds some flavor, and a lot of unnecessary gluten and calories. (Something tells me that roux was invented by peasants. It's a very cheap way to make your belly swell.)
Here I omitted the roux and used chicken stock in its place. The okra alone thickens well enough, and it's so much healthier--It's also tasty, if you get it fresh from the farmer's market like I did. I threw some collard greens in, too, for good measure. You can never get enough greens.
Un-roux-ly Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I prefer red)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound okra, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
4 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 bay leaves
5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves striped from the stem
2 quarts chicken or seafood stock
1 1/2 pounds peeled shrimp
1 lb andouille-style turkey sausage, cut into 1/4" pieces and browned
1 bunch of collard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Long grain brown rice for serving
- Saute the onion, celery, bell pepper and salt over medium heat until soft.
- Add the sausage, then the okra, and saute for a few minutes more.
- Next add the spices and tomatoes. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the stock and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add the sausage, shrimp and collard greens. Cook another minute or two, then turn off the heat. The shrimp and greens will continue to cook without the burner on.
- Serve over brown rice.