Gumbos are commonly considered to be southern cuisine and to be Cajun in particular. They do make a mean and oh so wonderful gumbo but they aren’t the only ones that make gumbo. We make it here in the north east too, particularly when it is winter and cold and you want something hearty on the menu to warm you body and soul; and it is very good. Gumbo is any hearty, spicy and lightly thickened soup that contains meat, vegetables and a variety of herbs and spices that have been sautéed before the broth is added. Chicken gumbo is one familiar to most of us but it is also made with fish, shell fish, pork, sausage and other meats. Gumbo is made all over the United States and everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe. It is soup and in this case, chicken soup.
Chicken soup of any kind is as famous for its medicinal purposes as it is delicious to eat and is wonderful to help ward off and even cure cold and flu symptoms or just perk you up when you are feeling down. There is Chicken and rice, Chicken and noodle, Chicken Broccoli, Creamed Chicken, (wonderful on toast when food just doesn’t set well on your stomach) and there is Chicken with Barley, Chicken vegetable and the ever popular Chicken stew, with or without dumplings but I think my all time favorite is Chicken Gumbo. It has some zip and zest to it and truly tantalizes the tongue. It is delicious and nutritious and I think you will like it too. Here is how to make it.
In a soup pot over medium high heat in
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
2/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 large firm tomato diced
3 stalks celery with leaves chopped
As soon as the onion starts to turn transparent reduce
heat to medium low
2-3 chicken breasts cubed (about 2 pounds)
2 cups sliced okra
1/2 cup chopped kale
1 carrot grated
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Stir and toss lightly for 3-5 minutes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of rosemary
Pinch of Thyme
Pinch of marjoram
8 cups chicken stock (broth)
3 cups water
Stir to mix and allow to come to full boil over med. high heat.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Cover and allow to simmer slowly for 45 to 50 minutes. At about half time you
may want to add more salt, pepper and spices to taste. When done remove from heat and allow to set 5-7 minutes before serving. Stir and serve in warm bowls with crusty bread and a pear and cottage cheese salad on a bed of crisp lettuce and other salad greens. Garnish salad with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. And for dessert tonight let’s have Lemon Meringue pie. Oh my, I can hardly wait for dinner.
(NOTE: If okra is not in season I have added cut Romano beans (the flat Italian green bean) and about 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste or Roux for thickener. To make your own Roux take 2 Tbsp. clarified butter and mix it with 2 Tbsp. flour over low heat until it is smooth and creamy and slightly thickened. You do not have to add a thickener if you are using okra unless you want a really thick, stew-like gumbo. Okra has its own thickening properties.)