Un-roux-ly shrimp and sausage gumbo

Traditional gumbo recipes begin by browning wheat flour and lard together in a pot. In French, this is called a roux. It adds minimal flavor to soups, but mainly serves as a thickening agent. Wheat flour and lard have always been cheap, and for that reason they've been indispensable ingredients in times of hardship for their ability to fill hungry peasant bellies.

Here I omitted the roux and used chicken stock in its place. I find that the okra thickens well enough on its own, and the result is much lighter. 

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

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 and shrimp. Cook another minute or two, then turn off the heat. The shrimp will continue to cook without the burner on.
  • Serve over brown or white rice.