Celebrate Mardi Gras with Gumbo

Cold weather and six more weeks of winter - it's time for some comfort food!

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

The classic Cajun gumbo includes a dark roux for added flavor and as a thickener. If you’re cooking Paleo, simply eliminate that part of the recipe, add an additional cup of okra to thicken the sauce and adjust the seasoning for flavor. Using a stock made with the shrimp shells may substitute for some of the chicken stock. If you like green peppers (I don’t!) feel free to add 1/2 cup chopped with the onion and celery.

Serves 6

2 skinless, bone-in chicken breasts

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup sliced fresh okra

5 cups chicken stock

1 cup diced tomatoes with juice

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

8-10 oz. smoked sausage links (Andouille if available), cut into 1/4” thick slices

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Season the chicken breasts with salt (if using) and pepper. In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium. Add the chicken breasts and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and add the remaining oil. Whisk the flour into the oil until smooth. Lower the heat and cook, whisking constantly, until dark brown, about 20-25 minutes. (Use caution as the roux is extremely hot.)

Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the okra, chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika and cayenne. Add the chicken breasts and the sausage and bring to a simmer.

Cook over low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours until mixture is thickened according to preference, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken breasts and allow them to cool slightly. Bone the chicken and shred the meat. Stir the chicken into the gumbo and add the shrimp. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Ladle the gumbo over rice (or for Paleo, shredded cooked cauliflower). Serve with hot sauce or file powder if desired.

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