Since Mardi Gras is coming up, I thought I'd find a way to cook a healthier gumbo. There are some shortcuts and some lighter options. But I want to be careful not to destroy the soul of the dish.
This is a dish that requires patience and time. So don't think you can whip it up in 30 minutes. You could work on parts of it over a day or two. And you can shorten some of the time to make gumbo with a pressure cooker.
Start with Great Ingredients
But your shrimp with shell on. Then use those shells to make your own shrimp stock. It will take a bit more time, but you'll have a better stock. Plus you can control the sodium if you make your own rather than buy it.
Next, replace the smoked sausage with a chicken, soy, or turkey version. Or replace it altogether with chicken thighs.
Also, use brown rice instead of white rice for an increase in fiber and nutty flavor.
Make a Great Roux
You can find visual directions for making a dark roux here. Some lighter recipes recommend canola oil instead of butter or lard for the roux. You'd use almond and rice flours if you were making a paleo version of gumbo. You may need to add in a thickening agent like arrowroot. The starch in the flour is what causes thickening of a sauce. You won't need it at this stage since you're just cooking the roux for flavor.
File powder and okra should do the trick and both are paleo and low-carb.
What would I use? Bacon grease pure and simple. I'm always saving it after I cook up some rashers of bacon. It adds in a lovely smokiness to the roux that works well with the rest of the ingredients.
But no matter what, great roux requires great patience.
You can find a lighter recipe for gumbo at Cooking Light.
A gluten-free gumbo recipe is here at Apron Strings.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!