I followed Isa's recipe to the letter, with two important additions: because I think gumbo is often made with seasoned meat, I added 2 tsp sausage spice with the sauteeing onions, and because I had it and it's delicious, I added 1 TB Bajan seasoning with the simmering tomatoes. This meant that there were little meaty hints of allspice and fennel lurking below the main flavor profile.
Okra Gumbo with Chickpeas and Kidney Beans
(from the post punk kitchen, with additions)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium sized onion, diced large
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sausage spice (optional)
1 heaping cup sweet red peppers, diced large (I used roasted red peppers from a jar)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes)
1 TB Bajan seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
8 springs fresh thyme (plus extra for garnish)
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth at room temperature
2 cups okra (about 10 oz) sliced 1/4 inch thick or so
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
rice for serving
First we’re going to make a roux, but it has a little less fat than a traditional roux, which means it doesn’t get as goopy. If you’d like a more traditional roux, just add 3 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. Okay, so, let’s proceed.
Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. The wider the pot the better, so that you have lots of surface area to make your roux.
Add the oil and sprinkle in the flour. Use a wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, and stir pretty consistently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is clumpy and toasty.
Add the onion and salt, and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and sausage spice mix and stir for 30 seconds or so.
Add the peppers, tomatoes, and Bajan seasoning and cook down for about 10 more minutes. If using cherry tomatoes, place a cover on the pot to get them to cook faster and release moisture. As the tomatoes break down, the mixture should become thick and pasty.
Season with fresh black pepper, add bay leaves, smoked paprika and thyme and mix well.
Stream in the 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Add the okra and beans, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the okra is tender. If it’s too thick, thin with up to 1/2 cup vegetable broth. If it’s not as thick as you like, just cook it a bit longer.
Add the lemon juice, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems (if you can see them) then serve in a big, wide bowl, topped with a scoop of rice and garnished with fresh thyme. Serves 6.