Chopped, October 2016 edition. I have a raw chicken breast, boneless. There is a packet of fresh tender okra in my fridge. Yeap, I have more fresh okra; picked it up in Valley Farm Markets in Bethlehem, PA. Great produce there. It is a southern veggie: needs a hot summer around here to really produce and only plays well in a limited array of dishes. Most times at my local store it looks kinda beat up and I pass it by but this day I was shopping one town over: selected a good looking packet of it to build my supper around. Other ingredients I had around were: the last two fresh homegrown tomatoes and a red bell pepper, plus the usual items available in my pantry: onions, garlic, broth. What to make in 35 minutes that tastes like late summer in a soup bowl but isn’t soup?
Originally I had been all for fried chicken fingers but that okra sent me off on another path. I was suddenly thinking gumbo because of the okra. Yeah, I have commented before about the whining regarding the alleged slimy nature of okra. This cook was determined to never let that travesty occur, so my beautiful okra was sliced right before adding to the pan. I sautéed and stirred my pan full of chicken, veggies and a few shrimp and before I knew it; supper was ready. It isn’t quite a gumbo as I didn’t cook it for a long time nor did I make a roux but my results were darned delicious. The ripe tomatoes from my garden were perfect with the okra and the chicken which was so tender I cut chunks up with a fork. I added a few rounds of turkey pepperoni to add an almost hot sausage flavor. Totally optional; you could use andouille sausage if you prefer that; not too much though; no more than ¼ cup. Or no other protein. Could even leave the shrimp out and I bet it would still be awesome.
I served mine over cooked brown rice but you might try using tiny rice grained gluten free pasta. I actually like that better than rice. Of course, you could use another protein like cod, monkfish, or any firm white fish. Enjoy!
Angie’s Chicken Gumbo; Serves two generously
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 chicken breast cut into roughly 1 inch chunks
½ cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove minced (about 1 tsp.)
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup broth: chicken or veggie
1 cup chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
8-10 rounds of turkey pepperoni (optional)
1 1/2 cups sliced okra; cut in 1/3 inch slices
8 medium shrimps, peeled (optional)
1 cup hot rice or cooked rice shaped gf pasta
Cut the chicken into small pieces and roll in some rice flour to cover. Shake excess four off, Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan; add the chicken pieces. Cook 2-3 minutes, turn over, cook 2 more minutes, stir up and cook another minute. Chop the veggies while the chicken cooks or do it before you even start the chicken cooking. Then add the onion and sauté for three minutes on medium heat, add the pepper and celery, cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic, sauté another minute, stirring. Then add the thyme, half the parsley, and the salt. Cook for 3 minutes stirring often. Add the broth, pepperoni and chopped tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the okra and cook for five minutes, add the shrimp, cook for 3-4 more minutes add the rest of the parsley. Taste, add more salt if necessary and up to ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper. Serve over the rice or pasta in a shallow soup bowl.
If you want it spicy, add a dash of Tabasco and a pinch of cayenne when you add the thyme. If you want it soupier; add another ½ cup of broth. I had a bottle of green Tabasco sauce available and that worked fine to spice it up even more.
This recipe is based on one from Jane Brody’s “Good Seafood Cookbook” with my modifications.