Gumbo is a comfort food that can take hours to make, and usually makes enough to serve a mob.
Here’s a shortcut version that captures the flavor without taking hours, and makes a small enough batch to serve two, or one with leftovers for another meal.
The key to good gumbo is cooking the oil and flour together to form a rich, light brown roux. This gives the gumbo its distinctive flavor. Okra gives gumbo its texture. When cooked, okra gives off a thick liquid that acts as a thickener for soups and sauces.
You can use frozen okra instead of fresh, and frozen diced onion and green bell pepper are used to shorten preparation time.
Short-Cut Shrimp Gumbo for 2
Vegetable oil spray
1/4 pound fresh or frozen okra, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen diced onion
1 cup frozen diced green bell pepper
1 cup sliced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups canned low-sodium diced tomatoes with the juice
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package microwave white rice to make 1 1/2 cups cooked
Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat and spray with vegetable oil spray. Add okra, onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Saute 5 minutes. Remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
Add oil, then flour to the skillet. Blend well and cook slowly, stirring often, until flour is a rich brown color. Add water, little by little, stirring to remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer. Add thyme and tomatoes and return vegetables to the pan with the corn and lima beans. Simmer 5 minutes. Add shrimp, cook 2 minutes.
Cover and remove from heat. Let sit while you make the rice. Add salt and pepper to taste to the gumbo.
Serve the rice topped with the gumbo.
Per serving: 638 calories (28 percent from fat) 20.2 g fat (1.8 g saturated, 11.6 g monounsaturated), 276 mg cholesterol, 44.3 g protein, 74.8 g carbohydrates, 10.4 g fiber, 365 mg sodium.
Yield: 2 servings.