“Mighty Rad Gumbo”…

Or so sang “Little Feat” in this song about gumbo and his mamma being in the “Seafood Hall of Fame” because of her cooking. It was this song that was my original inspiration to create a gumbo recipe. If you have ever read this blog, you will know that I am no stranger to driving, a LOT, whether it was my epic 4 hour round trip to commute to my last job or the months I had to drive north to western Pennsylvania before we moved there. Along those same lines, I recently completed a move to North Myrtle Beach and, as can be imagined, there was a great deal of driving involved as we shuttled items from western Pennsylvania to the beach. When the weather is nice and people aren’t driving while sitting on their shoulders, I listen to my iPod and when this song came up my mind went into overdrive!  I had never done a gumbo, sure there were stews and soups and such but gumbo?  In my head, it was kind of exotic.  You know the stuff that chefs in New Orleans (Neawleans as pronounced) do with their voodoo spices and tantric cooking practices. So, I did not want to do a “safe” regular gumbo but wanted to do something that brought together a whole host of other flavors (kind of a combination creole-gumbo, a “cre-umbo”, if you will) and since I was cooking for a large group, I wanted it to make a decent quantity so you may have to trim down the amount of the individual ingredients if you are making for fewer than 8. You may notice that there is no added salt or an excess of seasonings as all of the flavor comes from the Andouille sausage with which you start the recipe. This recipe is the result of all that time in the car. I loved it and so did the folks who were eating it (one had it for breakfast the next morning).  As you may, or may not, know the first to taste a new recipe has the honor of creating the name.  My niece Caroline (the southern one), because of the Olympics in Rio gave the recipe its name, “Brazilian Blowout Gumbo”.  (special note: next up is a honey mustard, tarragon glazed chicken but that will be later this week)

Brazilian Blowout Gumbo

(Makes 6 – 8 servings)

Gary Bechard – The Well Fed Cyclist


3 – Boneless-skinless chicken breasts, cubed

14 ounces – Andouille sausage, sliced crosswise

16 ounces – Cooked tail off shrimp, defrosted, 51 to 70 count

1 cup – Fresh okra sliced

1/3 – Medium sweet onion, rough diced

1/3 – Red bell pepper, diced

1/3 – Yellow bell pepper, diced

1/3 – Green bell pepper, diced

1 ½ stalks – Celery, diced

1 – 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 – 28 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 – 28 ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes

2 – 15 ounce cans of fire roasted corn

1 handful (about 3/4ths cup) – Fresh Parsley leaves, finely chopped

3 – Cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 ounces – Chicken stock (or vegetable stock if the spirit moves you)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I say this amount but it should only be enough to swirl around the bottom of the pot a couple of times during the cooking process)

1 tbsp – Coarse ground black pepper

2 tsp – Thyme (I used dried ground)

A brief note before the construction instructions: I normally chop my vegetables and meat ingredients ahead of time because it makes for easier cooking and cleaning.

Construction Instructions:

In a big stockpot, pour a nice “figure 8” of olive oil on the bottom. Turn the heat to mid range (5 or 6 on most electric ranges) and bring the oil up to temperature remembering that olive oil has a low smoke point and does not withstand high heat very well without breaking down. When the oil is hot, add Andouille sausage slices and cook them until they are done and they have rendered their fatty goodness on the bottom of the pan. Remove the slices from the pot with a slotted spoon, set aside and add a little bit more olive oil and bring the oil back up to temperature. Next add the chicken cubes and cook them until they are done and repeat the process of removing the cubed chicken and setting aside. Once again, drizzle a little bit of oil in the pot and with a wooden spoon scrape some of the tasty bits off the bottom and add your garlic sautéing this until the garlic softens making sure that you do not allow the garlic to turn brown. Lower the heat to low medium and then, add the onions, peppers and celery sautéing these until they soften. With all of that goodness going on in the pot, add the okra slices and pour in the chicken stock covering the vegetables. Cook the okra until it is tender then add back the chicken and the sausage. Once this is done, add each of the cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce and the fire roasted corn (water and all) and stir all of these together allowing the ingredients to get acquainted. Next add the parsley and the thyme, re-stir, to distribute the herbs evenly. Lower the heat so that the mixture is at a low simmer (the liquid will lightly bubble and not be a rolling boil) and make sure that you are constantly stirring to make sure the heat stays even throughout the mixture and to start breaking down the whole tomatoes. You can aid in breaking down the tomatoes by cutting them through with the edge of the wooden spoon with which you are using to stir. The process will take about 30 to 40 minutes and you should notice that your liquids cooking down a bit. In the last 10 minutes, after the whole tomatoes have broken down, add the shrimp and cook for another 10 minutes until they are heated thoroughly.

I served this over whole grain brown rice with jalapeno-cheese bread slices.


The Well Fed Cyclist


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