Mombo Gumbo

This might be the silliest name for Gumbo, but I’m sticking with it because this is what I call it in my kitchen.

So here’s the thing: Gumbo is absolutely fantastic for Celiac because it’s a rice based meal that you can do just about anything with.  It’s a mix and match Smörgåsbord for us: chicken and sausage, chicken and shrimp, shrimp and pork, pork and pork, chicken and shrimp….doesn’t matter.  Anything goes, and that is awesome.

Unfortunately, I live in CA and there is no cajun flair out here.  Oh sure, there are a few hidden gems of Cajun cooking around; but it’s not the full immersion that you need to really understand soul food.

Like, what is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya?  That is a really good question, I think.  They both have rice, sea food, meat, bell peppers, onions and spices.  So for me out here in California, I can’t really get the true complexities of the dishes like I would if I was in Louisiana.

  • Gumbo is a soup or stew.  Rice is served on the side or as the foundation of the dish, under the gumbo stew.
  • Jambalaya is made in three sections, with meats, veg and finished with adding stock and rice and is served as one dish.

Now, on the base of it, gumbo is named after the Bantu/West African name for okra…so that is pretty easy.  Gumbo is just an okra dish.  I have tried making it authentic with seafood, but I just couldn’t stomach that much seafood taste.  It was just so seafoody; the celery tasted like shrimp.  It was just too much for me, but I love the concept of gumbo…. ergo: Mombo Gumbo….this is gumbo I like.

By the way, I couldn’t find okra for a while in the store so I grew it myself in the garden.  They have the most beautiful yellow flowers, if you want to go down that road!

For This Dish, You’ll Need:

  • Frozen okra (I’ve found it is easier to cook with than fresh okra)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red, green bell pepper
  • 3 celery stalks
  • Green onions
  • Chicken
  • Sausage
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Kosher salt, ground pepper, paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder


I don’t know why, but my brain turns to mush when I think about the steps to making gumbo.  So let’s break it down and turn it into I, II, III Steps.

Step I: Veg – So first you are going to want to saute the okra on low-medium in about 2 Tbsp of butter for about 10 minutes, just to get it going.

Combine the tomato sauce into this.  Let these simmer gently while you work on….

The Roux: In another pan, add about 3 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch.  Stir these on low-medium heat until it is nice and thick with no lumps, and is a golden tan color.  Then add the chopped bell peppers, celery stalks, onion and spices.  Cook for about 4 minutes.

Add 4 cups of water, the Veg and a lid.  Just keep it there on medium-low to get thick.

Step II. The Meat –  What I would do is put all the chicken and sliced sausage into the pressure cooker, with 4 cups of water, Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.  Cook for 20 minutes.

Step III. Combine – Join the meat into the pot with the veg and simmer for about 10-15 minutes to combine the flavors.   Add more paprika, garlic and salt if you need more flavor.  If you wanted,  you could add Tabasco…but that’s up to you.  I don’t like the taste of it, but I think this is supposed to be a rather spicy dish.  You’re on your own with this one.

Ladle this over a bed of rice.  Lay on couch with a good movie afterwards…you’re going to need it.


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