Diaspora Gumbo

July 14, 2008

Diaspora Gumbo

From the Crescent City’s Farmers Market (contributed by Jennifer Vella, Tucson CSA)

We think that Poppy Tooker’s gumbo is one of the finest things we’ve ever tasted. Her Diaspora Gumbo recipe can be used to make seafood gumbo, chicken and andouille gumbo, or any combination of the two, and then some.


3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 pounds okra, thinly sliced (1/8-inch slices)

1 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 1-pound can whole tomatoes

2 tablespoons dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 gallon stock (shrimp, chicken or vegetable)

1 clove garlic

Use any combination of the following ingredients depending on your personal preference and your evacuation site:

4 gumbo crabs (can be purchased frozen in 1-pound packages)

2 pounds shrimp

1 pound smoked sausage (andouille or kielbasa), sliced and browned

1 pint oysters

2 cups chicken meat

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

salt and pepper

hot sauce

sprinkle of filé powder

hot cooked rice (1/4 cup per serving)


Cover the bottom of a 10- or 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil (approximately 1/4 cup). Heat oil until very hot, then fry okra in single layers until lightly browned. Reserve.

In a 10- or 12-quart Dutch oven–type pot, make a dark roux by combining 1/2 cup oil with flour and cooking until the mixture is the color of milk chocolate. Add onion and stir together; cook until the roux darkens to a bittersweet chocolate brown. Add celery and bell pepper; cook together for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add stock, garlic, okra and any combination of the diaspora ingredients (except raw shrimp and raw oysters, which must be added in the last 5 minutes before serving). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or so, stirring periodically to be sure there’s no sticking. In the last 5 minutes, add raw shrimp or oysters if desired along with green onions. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Serve over rice with a sprinkle of filé powder stirred in if desired.

Serves 10 to 12

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