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Cajun Chicken and Seafood Gumbo

New Orleans cooking enjoys the influence of many different cultural groups, including African and native Choctaw populations. Gumbo is traditionally thickened with okra, and the name comes from the African word for okra: "gombo." This recipe adds file powder (made from sassafras leaves), just as the Choctaw seasoned their stew; you can find file powder at many groceries or ethnic food stores.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken broth (canned or from bouillon)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups sliced okra (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup peeled, cooked shrimp (bite-size pieces)
  • 6 crab claws
  • 2 tablespoons file powder
  • 6 cups cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. In a cast-iron Dutch oven, combine oil and flour over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low as flour begins to brown. Brown until the color of a penny, or darker.
  2. Add chopped onions, celery and garlic and cook until onions become transparent.
  3. Add broth while stirring.
  4. Add water, tomatoes, okra, chicken, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer.
  5. Cook 2 to 3 hours or until tomatoes and okra come to pieces.
  6. Add shrimp, crab claws and file powder 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve over white rice.

Yield: 6 servings

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