Monday, October 8, 2012

Tastes Better the Next Day: Gumbo!

If you've ever cooked at all, you probably already know there are some things that taste a lot better the next day.  Just about anything that is simmered on the stove for awhile tastes even better when allowed to sit in the fridge overnight.  Stews, chili, soups-- all these really gain depth after a rest in the refrigerator.   Cajun or Creole Gumbo is another one of those dishes and that is really great news for the cook!  Gumbo contains a number of ingredients and there are several steps in the cooking process, but all the preparation can be done the day before your guests arrive (makes a LOT, so it's definitely one of those dishes to be shared!), and the next day, after re-heating it, you have something even more wonderful! 
If you need a dish that feeds a lot of people, doesn't require a lot of "go withs", can be made ahead and tastes great, gumbo is a great choice.  I adapted this recipe from a little card I got  from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service a long time ago.  Ben and I stopped at a park center on the way to Corpus Christi and there were all kinds of free recipe cards for different sea food dishes popular on the Gulf Coast.  I gathered up a few, not thinking they would be that wonderful-- but they were free!  It turns out these Ag Extension home ec ladies really know their stuff and I've made many of the recipes over and over. 
As I said, it takes awhile to put this recipe together, but it is worth every minute and the next day when you're already to feed your hungry group, you'll feel every bit as competent and organized as one of those home ec ladies!  Be sure to wear a cute apron :)

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo (serves 6 as a main dish)
1 lb. cut up cooked chicken meat (I take the meat off one of those roasted chickens.)
1 lb.  sliced smoked sausage
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I remove the tails also)
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped onions
2 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped green pepper
1, 10-12 oz. pkg. frozen sliced okra
1, 8oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
1, 13oz can chicken broth
3 bay leaves
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dried thyme
2 t. each garlic salt and pepper
1 t. Tabasco sauce 
Salt to taste
cooked white rice (prepare 2 cups dry rice)

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet, if available (I use a Dutch oven).  When hot, add the flour and stir constantly with a wire whisk until dark and smooth.  Add vegetables, except okra, and cook until tender.  Add tomato sauce, 2 c. water, and chicken broth.  Add all the seasonings.  Simmer 1 hour. 
Meanwhile, lightly brown sausage slices in a frying pan.  Drain them well.
Add the chicken, sausages, raw shrimp and okra to the Dutch oven.  Simmer for 15 min.  Make sure shrimp are pink and cooked through.
Allow the mixture to cool down off heat, stirring every once in awhile, then refrigerate overnight-- don't cover it until the mixture is completely cold.
Re-heat in the oven (less chance of burning), covered, for 45 minutes at 400F, or until simmering.  Keep warm on top of the stove until serving time.
Serve with a scoop of hot rice.

I also like to serve crusty French bread with it and a fruit type dessert!


  1. Yum! I'm so glad you shared this recipe. It was delicious the day you made it so I can only imagine day two!

  2. B+K-- that was day two! Makes it easy after church!