Michelle’s vegan gumbo
This Cajun vegan gumbo features Andouille sausage and chicken. It’s such a lovely brown color, and so deliciously savory, you won’t believe it’s vegan!
Gumbo originates in Louisiana, and it’s found in both Creole and Cajun cooking. It’s a thickened soup or stew made with roux and the Louisianan “trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper. Gumbo contains sausage, chicken, seafood, and/or other meat, and it’s served over rice.
Roux is a flavorful and aromatic staple of Louisianan cooking. It’s made from equal parts fat and flour, pan-fried. Roux can be white, blond, or brown, depending on how long you cook it. Brown roux used in gumbo can range from the color of peanut butter to the color of dark chocolate. The darker the roux, the less thickening properties it has. I prefer to cook it until it turns just darker than the color of a paper bag, because this way it has excellent flavor and can still thicken the gumbo. With my oven range and large skillet, it takes about 20 minutes for the roux to reach my preferred color.
Gumbo can be thickened with okra, filé powder (ground sassafras leaves), or both. I kept this vegan gumbo recipe focused on meaty flavor, so I used filé but not okra, and I stuck to the Cajun tradition of omitting tomatoes as well.
This gumbo packs some heat. If you’re concerned about the spiciness, don’t put in the cayenne pepper until you’ve added the broth and can taste as you go.
No specific source here–I created this recipe from my research into many different gumbo preparations and tips.
How I Made It Vegan
Some people use butter or lard for the fat in roux, but it’s also common to use oil–and this way it’s already vegan.
You can use water or stock in gumbo. Water doesn’t sound too exciting, so I used vegetable stock instead of the typical meat stock. Please use high quality vegetable stock here. I use this very easy method to create the best stock I’ve ever tasted. It’s also free–I just freeze leftover vegetable trimmings, skins, etc., until I’ve built up enough to make stock.
I replaced the Andouille sausage with my homemade vegan Andouille sausage recipe, and I replaced chicken with the fabulous Gardein Chick’n Scallopini. Don’t fear these vegan meats–my omnivorous guests say they’re as good or better than animal meats!
Vegan Sausage and Chicken Gumbo, Cajun Style
Cook time is about 2 hours to 3 and a half hours, depending on how dark you like your roux and how thick you like your gumbo.
- Vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil
- 1 10 oz. package frozen Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (do not thaw)
- 1 pound vegan Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices (see my Jambalaya post for the recipe)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup more oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 4 cups good vegetable stock, chilled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. filé powder, or set the jar out on the table
- Cooked rice, with vegan butter and a little salt stirred in
- Hot sauce, for the table
- Heat oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven on medium heat.
- Pan-fry the chick'n fillets in the oil until browned, according to the package directions. Remove the fillets, place them on paper towels, and set aside. Leave the drippings and brown bits in the pot.
- Pan-fry the sausage in oil until browned.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Remove the sausage from the pot and place on paper towels. Set aside. Again, leave the drippings and brown bits in the pot.
- In a skillet, heat 1/2 cup oil on medium heat. I use a 12-inch stainless steel skillet, and the larger surface area helps me to cook the roux more quickly.
- Now make the roux. Thoroughly whisk a quarter of the flour into the oil. Keep whisking constantly as you slowly add the rest in three batches. Don't add a new batch until what you have in the skillet is completely mixed and smooth. Really go slow--if the roux burns (develops black specks), you'll have to throw it out and start over.
- Stir the roux constantly with a spatula until it darkens to the desired brown color. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with the spatula as you stir, too.
- Take the skillet off the heat and immediately scrape the roux into same pot that you used to pan-fry the chick'n and sausage. Quickly add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot and mix them into the roux.
- Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring most of the time, until the vegetables are very soft. As you stir, scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any roux or brown bits leftover from pan-frying the meats. Mix these brown bits in with the vegetables as you stir.
- Add the salt, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and stir to mix in thoroughly.
- Add the stock and bay leaves. Once again, scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any brown bits.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low or low for a gentle simmer.
- Add the sausage back to the pot.
- Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until it's your desired thickness, anywhere from one hour to two and a half hours. While it's simmering, cut your chick'n fillets into one inch squares.
- Stir in the chick'n, green onions, and parsley. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove pot from the heat. Remove the bay leaves.
- Stir in the filé powder. Or, if you have guests who are used to filé powder, you can set the jar out on the table so everyone can thicken the gumbo to their taste.
- Serve over cooked rice, with hot sauce on the table.
Copyright © 2014 Rivels and Grits All Rights Reserved.