Whenever I visit a place near the ocean one of the dishes I always look for on the menu is gumbo. Since I come from the land of BBQ and burgers, this particular dish is a rare treat but one I very much enjoy. Having tried several varieties, I’m happy to share this recipe, which is one of the tastiest, with you. The most common way to serve it is over steamed white rice, and for those with spicier taste preferences, feel free to dash it with Tabasco sauce for the extra kick you enjoy.

10 tablespoons – canola oil
½ lb – okra, cut into ½-inch slices
1 lb – skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons – flour, all-purpose
1 – yellow onion, large, chopped
1 – red bell pepper, diced
1 – green bell pepper, diced
3 – cloves of garlic, minced
1 can – diced tomatoes, with juice
5 cups – chicken broth
3 – bay leaves
Cajun spice rub
Salt and pepper
½ lb – Andouille sausage, cooked, thickly sliced
1 lb – shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon – filé powder

In a large, saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the okra and sauté until golden brown and softened 12-15 minutes. Remove from saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until lightly browned on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon or wire spatula to combine well. This will create a roux, which you will stir constantly, until dark brown, about 6 minutes.

Tip: You will want the roux to turn dark nut brown. The darker the better, if it begins to look like it’s burning add more oil, but don’t burn it.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the okra, tomatoes and juice, broth, bay leaves, Cajun spice, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the browned chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through, another 10 minutes.

Add the sausage and shrimp, and cook until the sausage is heated through and the shrimp are evenly pink, about 3 minutes. Add the filé powder and cook for 1 minute longer to thicken slightly. Discard the bay leaves before transferring to individual bowls and serving.

Serves 8