With only one pot, this spicy and healthy Spice and Chicken Gumbo has a velvety sauce, served over quinoa and is ready in only 30 minutes!
If there is one way to take me back to culinary school, it would be gumbo.
Wait, there is way too many recipes that transport me back to those awkward days.
This is something I should probably keep under wraps, but we are friends and I feel like we have courted each other enough to not judge (<– promise me, mmmk?). It was my Asian final so we were instructed to cook and plate 3 (or was it 4 or 5? Too long ago to remember…) full dishes all under two hours. Doesn’t seem too stressful for a cook. But when under pressure the time seems to magically move twice as fast. With every attempt to chop faster, I was a bit closer to losing a finger. Asian cooking was never my strong point. The cooking techniques, the flavors, the food. All seemed to be above my understanding. But during my final, everything wrong happened. A sliced finger, way too salty soup, soggy wontons and last but not least, a pan of blazing flames. Not once, Not twice. But THREE TIMES! In fear, all my thoughts of fire safety went out the window and I flung around panicking, with visions of burning down the whole school in mere minutes. I about died. As my chef laughed at me (true story), I finally came to my senses and threw a wet towel on top to calm the flames, my heart settled and I was able to catch my breath.
My instructor throughly enjoyed giggling at my failures. Every since that moment I have a great fear of extremely hot pans and any form of water near by. Coming from that final, besides my near failing grade, I have learned to keep utensils with any form of water on them far, far away from my cooking station.
Needless to say this gumbo does not have anything to do with Asian nor catching pans on fire, but it does bring back the good memories I have of culinary school. The gumbo was authentic with a deep, caramel roux as the starter. A roux is a simple flour and fat mixture that is cooked. As it cooks the color deepens and becomes fragrant. Once other liquids and ingredients are added, the roux helps to thicken the soup. The slight spice and the sweetness from the shrimp balance each other perfectly.
In effort to make the classic recipe healthier and onto your table in only half an hour, rather than hours, I lightened up the roux and added a slurry to the end to thicken the gumbo. All the flavor of the velvety base remains but the calories and fat go out the window. Loads of veggies are added to make this meal suitable for a healthy Monday meal or a fun Friday night dinner. It is one dish that is on the table in about 30 minutes so no need to rush through and say, light your pans on fire.
Take my word. Lighting your pan on fire is not as smooth as on tv. Just devour this gumbo without judging my cooking skills!
Tools I used to make this recipe:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use a gluten free blend if needed)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced (I used 1 red and 1 orange)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 cup frozen okra
- 2 (14 ounce) cans petite diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
- ½ pound shrimp, tails removed and deveined
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a ¼ cup cold water to create a slurry
- To serve:
- 1½ cups uncooked quinoa
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, it begins to brown and becomes fragrant. Whisk occasionally. It will take about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, celery, red onion, garlic, and okra, and cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, cayenne, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
- While the gumbo cooks, cook the quinoa according to the packages instructions.
- Add the chicken broth and the diced chicken. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add the shrimp and the slurry. Bring to a boil and stir until the gumbo thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over the quinoa.
Craving some more spice?
If you make this recipe, make sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #WITHSALTANDWIT. I’d love to see what you are cooking up in your kitchen!