I have again found inspiration from PaleOMG! While her recipes are always delicious, I try to make things my own most of the time, adjusting the recipe to taste or just because of what I have on hand. This is her version of paleo gumbo that I followed with additions and changes and additions. It came out SO rich and flavorful, a definite winner! I bumped up the flavor in this recipe by using my homemade crab stock instead of chicken stock, using some frozen smoked kalua pork I had made a couple of weeks ago, and serving it with crispy cajun spiced potatoes instead of cauliflower rice. The list of ingredients is long, but DON’T be discouraged! If you chop and prep things ahead of time you are really just dumping all the ingredients in at the right time. Here is my method:
2 tbs olive oil
2 slices of bacon, sliced into lardons
3 cups sliced andouille sausage
1/2 lb shrimp (I used large shrimp, and cut them in half length wise)
1 cup smoked pork (I used left over smoked Kalua pork, I will add a link here when I am able to get that recipe up)
1 cup water, decided in half
2 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lg green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
5 cups stock, I used my homemade Alaskan Snow Crab Stock, but chicken or veggie stock would work great!
1/2 roma tomato, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (I like mine sliced instead of minced, feel free to change things to your liking)
1 fresno or jalapeño pepper, diced small (optional, omit if you don’t want it to have a mild spice)
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne, optional
1 tsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves
Add your bacon and your olive oil to the pan. I like using a cast iron dutch oven type pan for dishes like this – I think you are able to get more browned crispy bits which in turn create a deeper richer flavor. **Quick tip, I also generally leave my bacon frozen until I need it. I almost always cook my bacon in thin strips, so when I need some, I just take a sharp knife and cut a 1/4 in to 1/2 inch slice off (cutting up and down the whole bacon package) and throw them on their side in the pan. After about two minutes, flip the bacon strip over and heat a bit more. Once the bacon starts to defrost, the slices will start to break apart and you will have perfectly even cut bacon strips!
Once the bacon is broken up and browned, add in the sausage and smoked pork.
Brown the meats in the bacon grease until the sausage and pork start to caramelize on the bottom. The bottom of the pan should look like this:
Don’t worry! This is not burnt! Remember, brown = flavor! Take a half cup of water and pour it in the bottom, scrapping all the brown bits up in the process. Once all of the brown bits are scrapped up, pour in the other 1/2 cup of water and add in the celery, onions, carrots, bell pepper, and fresno (or jalapeño, whichever you choose) to the pan.
Stir the veggies up with the meat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the veg is getting soft and the onions translucent.
Next, add in the tomato paste, spices, minced garlic, and roma tomato. Stir.
Let cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes to bloom the spices and the tomato paste.
Next, add in the stock along with the bay leaves.
Cover the gumbo, and let cook for 25-30 minutes. Stirring as needed. After the timer goes off, uncover, stir, and add in the shrimp.
After two minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir again. The residual heat will continue to cook the shrimp to a perfect doneness. Here is what the finished product will look like:
Since you are not using a roux like a traditional gumbo, if you prefer the sauce a bit thicker, you can use a slurry of 1 tbs arrow root powder(paleo) OR 1 tbs corn starch(not paleo) mixed with a tbs of water. While the gumbo is still boiling, slowly pour in the slurry while stirring continuously, and the gumbo will thicken up nicely. I found that this recipe, as is, thickened to our liking perfectly with the tomato paste used. I served the gumbo with my crispy cajun spiced potatoes instead of rice or cauliflower rice, but either would be amazing with this dish!
This gumbo is jam packed with flavor and will definitely warm you up!