A gumbo that's fast, easy and worthy of Mardi Gras
By ALISON LADMAN
For The Associated Press
You may not get down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but that doesn't mean you can't eat like you're there.
This speedy version of gumbo is prepared in two pans. Combined at the end, the two parts have all the flavor of the traditional hearty dish. If you have the opportunity, letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight will seriously improve the flavors.
While there are many different styles of gumbo across the South — including variations between Creole and Cajun — okra is a must-have ingredient (among other things, it serves as a thickener) of this meat- and seafood-rich stew. Most grocers sell chopped or whole okra in the freezer section.
FAST AND INTENSE GUMBO
Start to finish: 40 minutes
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 small)
• 3/4 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
• 1 pound okra, chopped
• 14 1/2-ounce can diced roasted tomatoes with chilies
• 1 3/4 cups water
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 1 pound sirloin steak, cubed
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
• 1 pound crab meat
• Juice of half a lemon
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium, melt 1/4 cup of the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a deep brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, onion, celery and okra. Continue to cook until the onion is translucent and the okra is stringy, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet over medium-high, melt the remaining butter. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and the steak. Sear the beef, turning occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute until pink, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage, crab, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Stir gently to heat through.
The mixtures can be combined in one pan to form the traditional stew-like dish, or the meat and seafood can be served over the vegetable mixture.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 532 calories; 285 calories from fat; 32 g fat (15 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 209 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrate; 45 g protein; 3 g fiber; 1,711 mg sodium.