I made this again last night. Delicious as always but I was unable to get the same smoked sausage I normally use so it was lacking that nice smokey flavor. My solution, I added smoked paprika and my Cajun House Seasoning at the end. SO good! Also, be sure to add the pepper vinegar, it really brings out all the flavors!
This is recipe is one of many Slow Cooker Recipes in my first cookbook, Satisfying Eats. I also have more NEW Slow Cooker dishes coming out in my new cookbook, Comforting Eats, due out 11-11-14!
As they say here in Louisiana, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times Roll). This gumbo gives us grain free people a reason to celebrate!! A roux-less gumbo that you cook in a crock pot?? A true Cajun would never even consider it. Good thing I am imported! 😉
Here on the bayou, everyone adds their own touch to the family recipe to make their gumbo a little unique. Most gumbos start off with making a roux (pronounced “roo”) which means browning equal parts of oil (or butter) and flour. This is a very tedious process that takes practice to master without burning. This recipe for gumbo is roux-less that I learned from our neighbors, the Fontenot’s here in Baton Rouge. It has 2 secret ingredients that make it flavorful and thick like a great gumbo should be, smoked sausage and okra.
Yes, yes, I said okra. I was never a fan of the stuff growing up unless my dad sliced, breaded and fried it. He would always boil some and eat it and I was completely grossed out because of the texture. So when I first heard there was okra in our neighbor’s gumbo, I was skeptical. But something was different about this okra gumbo. It was cooked down until the usual boiled okra texture was gone and the gumbo was great! This method requires one pot to cook okra and tomatoes down until all the “slime” is gone. While this is cooking, another pot is used to prepare the chicken stock, chicken and sausage. Then you marry the two pots together and it is a happy ending!
While making it this past weekend, I wondered how it would work in a crock pot so I wouldn’t have to stand over the okra and tomatoes, just like you do a roux. It worked and it’s genius!! Please don’t let the simplicity of this recipe keep you from trying it. Just make sure you get a flavorful smoked sausage and you will have a winning crock pot of gumbo!
For those who don’t like okra, you must give this a try. Because it cooks so long, you don’t have any of the slime and you can’t tell the okra is in the gumbo. You start off at night with your okra and tomatoes in your crock pot, then finish it in the morning by adding your onions, chicken, sausage and broth. Then when you get home, you have a masterpiece for dinner!
Crock Pot Recommendation
I have been using my Crock Pot A LOT! I just purchased THIS programmable one and I LOVE IT!
Also, don’t worry, I haven’t taken up drinking. The Crown Royal bottle contains peppers in vinegar that our neighbor grew and gave us. This gumbo is made even better finished off with a splash at the end and some chopped green onions. If you need additional flavor and heat, your favorite hot sauce will do.
Roux-less Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Prep time 5 minutes
1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1 small can Rotel tomatoes (or 1 extra cup diced tomatoes and 1 chopped jalapeno)
2 lbs chopped okra (fresh or frozen)
2 pounds chicken thighs (I used bone-less and skin-less but you could use bone-in but no skin)
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups of seasoning blend (onions, parsley, bell pepper, celery) (Cajuns call this stuff the Holy Trinity)*
Cajun House Seasoning, to taste
1 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
*Or 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 bell pepper, chopped; 1 stalk celery, chopped
- Right before going to bed, place okra and tomatoes and 1 cup of chicken broth in crock pot and stir.
- Cover and cook on low.
- Before going to work in the morning (or 6-8 hours later), add sausage, chicken thighs and seasoning blend. Stir.
- Cover and continue to cook on low until you get home (or 6-8 hours).
If you use good smoked sausage, you will not need to add any additional seasonings. Finish off with chopped green onions, a splash of pepper vinegar and/or a dash of Cajun House Seasoning.
Place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 10 hours.
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