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“Gumbo-laya” Stew

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The flavors and ingredients are so similar in gumbo and jambalaya that sometimes it’s hard to tell what distinguishes the two dishes…both are made with a combination of sausage, chicken, shrimp, cajun seasonings, tomatoes, okra and other vegetables.  So what’s the difference?  Let’s keep it simple and say gumbo is usually in soup form and jambalaya is usually a thicker concoction served over rice.  Why not combine the two?  I found this recipe on Pinterest complements of the thecozyapron.com and we thought it was spectacular.  It’s gumbo-esque in that it’s somewhat soupy but it’s served over garlic rice to create the jambalaya effect of a full hearty meal.  I adapted it slightly to our tastes and kept the heat low for the kids and then Mike and I added hot sauce to our liking.

On a side note, It’s been almost a year since I started my blog and I’m having more fun with it than I could have imagined.  I really enjoy sharing what is going on in my kitchen from week to week and even more so, I love to hear feedback from so many of you whether through email, on Facebook, on Instagram or especially in person.  After church this past Sunday, some friends of mine (a couple) were walking out behind me and the husband said “Hey Carolyn, what’s coming on the blog next?”  I knew that his wife was following my blog but it was a pleasant surprise to hear that he was interested as well.  I responded very proudly, “Gumbo-laya….I made it last week, I just need to post it.”  He genuinely and rather joyously responded, “Alright, that sounds great!”  And then he leaned in toward me with a sort of admittance of guilt and said, “You know, one time I made gumbo and used cooked shrimp….it was horrible.”  We were both cracking up as we parted ways.  So this one’s for Marc!  Don’t forget to use RAW shrimp.

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“Gumbo-laya” Stew (Serves 8)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb spicy andouille or smoked sausage, sliced

8 chicken tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces

salt and pepper

3 celery stalks, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 large bell pepper (green or red), diced

2 bay leaves

3/4 tsp creole or cajun seasoning

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 8-12 oz. pkg frozen okra slices (or fresh okra cut into slices)

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups chicken stock

1/2-1 lb peeled and cleaned, medium size shrimp (raw)

1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

green onion, sliced

2 cups dry brown or white rice (optional: 1 clove diced garlic and additional chicken stock instead of water)

Directions:

Place a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the sliced sausage and allow it to caramelize and brown for a few minutes (really get it nicely browned…this brings out a nice flavor); remove from pot and set aside.  Add chicken pieces to pot along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and brown in the oil/sausage dripping for about 3 minutes; remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.  Next add diced celery, onion and bell pepper and caramelize for about 4-5 minutes.  Then add in the bay leaves, the creole or cajun seasoning, the cayenne pepper, the paprika and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and stir to combine.  Next, add the garlic and stir.  Once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minutes to cook out the “raw” tomato flavor.  Next add the sliced okra, the diced tomatoes with juice, the chicken stock and the browned chicken and sausage.  Stir to combine and allow the stew to simmer on low/medium heat uncovered for about 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, add in the shrimp and simmer for only 2 minutes more so as not to overcook the shrimp.  Finish by stirring in the chopped parsley and cilantro and serve over rice with additional heat options like hot sauce or red pepper flakes.  Garnish with sliced green onions and more parsley and cilantro.

*Time your rice up to be ready right when the stew is ready.  Make it a garlic rice by toasting the dry rice in olive oil and garlic before adding the water or chicken stock to simmer.

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Adapted slightly from The Cozy Apron