Nothing says Mardi Gras better than a bowl of steaming seafood gumbo served over rice. Traditionally made with smoked ham, jumbo shrimp, okra and a hint of Cajun seasoning for a spicy kick, no Mardi Gras party would be complete without it.
The most recent one to come to my attention is one from Linda Gassenheimer of the Miami Herald in her Quick Fix column. It’s a quick version of her husband’s Aunt Helen Rose’s Chicken Gumbo recipe.
This dish improves with age, Gassenheimer says, so if you have time, make extra and freeze for another quick dinner.
Vegetable oil spray
¾ pound skinless chicken breast with bones, cut into several pieces (can substitute pheasant)
¼ pound okra, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen chopped/diced onion
1 cup frozen/diced green bell pepper
1 celery stalk, sliced (½ cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoons flour
2½ cups water
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup frozen lima beans
4 large cooked shelled shrimp (¼ pound)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Heat a large nonstick sauce pan over medium-high heat and spray with vegetable spray. Brown chicken on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add okra, onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the pan. Saute 3 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside. Add oil, then flour. Blend well and cook slowly until flour is a rich brown color. Add water, little by little, stirring to remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer. Add cayenne and tomatoes and return vegetables to the pan. Mix well and add lima beans and chicken. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees. Add shrimp, cover and remove from heat to warm shrimp. Serve over brown rice with Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce on the side.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 454 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 13.2 grams fat (1.8 grams saturated, 6.5 grams monounsaturated), 167 milligrams cholesterol, 46.2 grams protein, 39.4 grams carbohydrates, 8.6 grams fiber, 479 milligrams sodium.