With Mardi Gras tomorrow, you might want to get into the spirit of the celebration with a vegetable gumbo for Meatless Monday! Gumbo's are a kind of stew, popular in the south (especially Louisiana and Mardi Gras country) that usually has meat, vegetables and a thickener. The thickener can be roux (a flour mixture); okra - which has a thickening agent in its juices; or file powder - ground sassafrass leaves. Sometimes it has a combination of all three. The other key set of ingredients is the combination of celery, bell peppers and onions - also known as the "Holy Trinity" of Cajun cuisine. This is one of the few Meatless Monday recipes that will call for vegetarian sausages and seitan (wheat gluten meat substitute) - you can find these items locally in Bakersfield at Trader Joe's or Lassens. When okra is in season, you can add about a cup of sliced okra to this recipe as well.
What you will need:
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon of canola oil
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 medium onions chopped
- 3 stalks of celery chopped
- 3 medium green peppers chopped
- 3 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped off and chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups of vegetable broth (if you can get a chicken-style broth, all the better)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 4 vegetarian sausages sliced
- 1 16 ounce package of chicken-like seitan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the oil and flour in a large dutch oven (be sure it is suitable for use in the oven). Bake for 75 minutes or until the roux is very dark and turn off the oven.
Remove the pot from the oven and carefully (remember the pot is VERY hot) add the onion, peppers, celery, mushrooms and garlic. Place on stove top at medium heat, stirring while the vegetables cook, until tender or about 8 minutes. Add the sherry and stir, cooking another two minutes. Add the vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and spices. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet, brown the sausages and seitan, before adding to the gumbo. Simmer an additional 15 minutes. Scoop out the bay leaves.
Serve over rice, and you can add File powder if it needs additional thickening, and Tobasco if you like it hot! As they say in N'Orleans "Laissez les bon temps roulez!" (Let the good times roll!).
Bon Apetit! Comments? Questions? Story information, product to review or breaking news? Please contact Natalia Corres at Natalia@bakwep.com.
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