Thursday, August 30, 2012

Easy Chicken Gumbo with Lima Beans, Corn, and Crispy Okra

So I'm very thankful we did not lose power during Hurricane Isaac, because let me tell you, the humidity today rivals an Amazon rain forest and I just might DIE without air conditioning.

Yes, it's THAT serious.

I hope I'm not speaking too soon, though, because it's not over yet, or so the Weather Channel keeps informing me. Over and over.

And over.  And over. 

I want to change the channel, but it's forbidden because my man likes to stay shrewdly informed about all weather related matters.  Especially when there is a hurricane out and about.

Do you want to see my front yard?

Thanks goodness the sunflowers are on higher ground.  My husband and I have been staring out the window, both of us silently wondering if they will make it, but too scared to speak it out loud. 

We worked sooooo hard planting them.

I mean my husband did.  But still.  *We are one.*

So the good thing about rain is that it brings about feelings of comfort and coziness.  The tornado warnings not so much, but the rain that we had for like twenty hours straight brought some comfort and cozy to our home.

And a small lake in the front yard.

And when I feel all the comfort and cozy, I want to make soup.  And more specifically, gumbo.  I had a GLORIOUS bowl of gumbo this summer at a church gathering, and the woman who made it threw in some different kinds of veggies than what the average gumbo has, and one of them was lima beans.  So I had some in my freezer and decided to throw them in along with some corn.  And the only okra I had was frozen, breaded okra, but I had a light bulb moment and decided to fry it up and use it as a topping.  It was fantastic.

This recipe is a very basic gumbo recipe.  It's for the person who lacks time and, well, groceries.  And yes, I know you can add more flavor by starting with bacon, sausage, ham , etc., then making the roux from the drippings and all that, but I have some non-pork eating family members and I have to play by different rules.  Starting a roux without animal fat can be done.  It can.  And it can be very tasty.  My family loved this.

Here are my notes:

-The roux is the key to gumbo.  When making a roux, you're looking for the final product to be a reddish-brown.  Think the color of a penny.  I have made this twice in the last month and the second time I didn't cook my roux long enough and there was a noticeable difference in the flavor.  It was still good, but the distinctive flavor was not as strong.  Cooking the roux could take 20-30 minutes, so be patient and keep stirring.

-I loved topping this with crispy, fried okra.  I have family members who are opposed to any kind of okra but fried because it can be slimy.  This is a great way to add it in.

-Other veggies would work too.  I just happened to have lima beans and corn on hand.

-I boiled my two chicken breasts, then I seasoned the water they were boiled in to make a stock/broth.

-Don't forget to salt and pepper to taste.  Salt will bring out the flavor in anything.  I think it is the single most important ingredient in cooking.

-I used can corn, but frozen would certainly work too.

-The oil will rise to the surface and that needs to be skimmed off with a spoon and discarded as much as possible.

-This is great served with cornbread or biscuits.

Easy Chicken Gumbo with Lima Beans, Corn, and Crispy Okra

1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
8 cups chicken broth or stock or 8 cups water and 8 bouillon cubes
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 (16-ounce) package frozen lima beans
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, breaded okra, fried to golden brown and crispy

In a large heavy bottom pot, heat the oil until hot and add flour.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring often to frequently, until mixture turns reddish-brown, the color of a copper penny. 

Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are soft.  Add the chicken stock, shredded chicken, lima beans, and corn.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Skim the oil off the top with a spoon and discard as much as possible.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over rice and sprinkle each bowl with the fried okra.

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  1. I've been watching all the news footage on Isaac and I'm glad to see it isn't as bad as Katrina. I hope your sunflowers survive!
    Gumbo is a dish I've never tried, but would really like to make one day. I love how you've put crumbed okra on there as well. I've never seen it pre-crumbed before! Gorgeous soup.

  2. This looks so good..the photo is beautiful! Will definitely pin this for the future. One question, what did you season the chicken water with to make it a broth? Any suggestions on frozen okra brands that are not all breading? Well, that was two questions! Hopefully, you have received all you're getting from Issac. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  3. John and Alex--Thanks!

    Mimi G.--I used McCormick's chicken base which is like a paste to season my stock, but I have used just regular bouillon cubes because I am a tightwad. :) As far as okra, the bag I used for the picture was an off-brand and not quite as good as the one I usually buy at Wal-mart which is...I don't know what brand it is to tell you the truth. Picsweet maybe?

  4. Maybe it's Stillwell okra? I love fried okra! I can really put it away.

    This looks good, and I want some. It's sort of like succotash gumbo.

    Also, I would like a Coke. Or whatever the refreshing beverage is in the picture.

  5. Your pictures are always so gorgeous!!!! Hope the sunflowers are doing ok!