What do you do when you have about 6 cups of okra in the fridge?
Make gumbo, of course!
So at the farmer’s market last weekend I scored 2 overflowing pints of okra for just $4 total! Other vendors at the market were selling smaller pints for $3.50 each. So keep in mind it pays to do a lap before committing. But yeah, I was a bit excited about my first batch of okra of the season, especially for such a great price!
Calling this slow-cooker gumbo might be a little bit deceptive. You’ll spend a bit of time cooking the roux on the stove top but after that, it’s all hands-off. The long cooking time means the okra is not slimy at all. And hey, your overzealous farmer’s market purchase will reward you with lunches for the week!
Slow-Cooker GumboIf you can’t find andouille, feel free to substitute with any spicy sausage (I did!). Take your time with the roux; it’s ready when it smells nutty and toasted. And while peanut oil is traditional, I used some bacon fat to add smoky flavor…it’s what I had at home! Feel free to add some shrimp or fish to the slow cooker for the last half hour. This recipe is sized for a 6-qt. slow-cooker and makes nearly that much. You can certainly cook the roux, assemble everything, refrigerate, and cook the next morning to be ready for dinner after work.
- 4 oz expeller-pressed peanut oil or (organic) bacon fat (half a cup)
- 4 oz whole-wheat flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 large onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1 large stalk of celery
- 4-6 cups okra
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 qt chicken stock
- 1 lb (organic) andouille or other spicy sausage
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cayenne powder
- salt & pepper
- In a cast-iron skillet or another large pan, heat the fat over medium-low heat. Slowly add in the flour, whisking to combine constantly. Once all the flour is incorporated, lower the heat so the roux is just barely bubbling. Let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until it smells richly nutty and looks smooth and glossy. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat or you risk scorching!
- While the roux cooks, dice the onion, pepper, and celery. Once the roux is ready, add these “holy trinity” vegetables and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes to soften the veggies.
- Meanwhile, trim the tops off the okra and slice into half-inch rounds. Roughly chop the tomatoes, reserving all the juices.
- Transfer the roux and Trinity into the slow cooker. Add the okra and tomatoes (and juices). Top with the chicken stock, sausage, spices, and salt & pepper. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.
- Remove the sausage, slice, and return to slow-cooker. Taste for seasoning, and serve with brown rice.