Jammin’ to Gumbo

by Theresa on February 24, 2011

Gumbo originated in Lousiana, but is a very international dish mixing flavors from France, Spain and West Africa. The name is derived from ki ngombo, which is the West African Bantu name for okra, a key ingredient in African cuisine.

There are different styles of gumbo, depending on the ingredients used. The recipe varies from region to region. For example, the Acadiana gumbo is quite thick, whereas on the Gulf coast it might be cooked without any roux (mixture of flour and fat). The recipe below is rich in flavor, but lower in fat and starch compared to many traditional recipes. Okra is a key ingredient. Its “gooiness” is due to soluble fiber,
which can slow down the absorption of glucose, and help reduce cholesterol as part of a healthy diet.

Preparation tips:
★ Before you start cooking, chop/ dice all the ingredients.
★ Go low sodium for the canned diced tomatoes.
★ If you serve with brown rice remember that 1/3 cup cooked rice provides 15 g carbohydrates
★ Since this is a labor-intense recipe, make more and save the leftovers for a couple of days.

Ingredients for 6 servings:
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons white flour
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 large red bell peppers
2 celery stalks 1 bay leaf
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 oz extra-lean ham diced
6 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 lb or frozen sliced okra
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 lb medium deveined shrimp

Directions: Dice vegetables. Heat oil, mix in flour and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery. Cook until soft. Add ham, chicken, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper and stir for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup cold water. After 5 minutes, stir in the frozen okra. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked. Stir in shrimp, wait 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley
before serving and enjoy!

1 serv. = 25 g carbohydrates

Okra facts: this plant originated in Africa, but is now grown around the world in many warm regions.

Cultural tip: Gumbo is a typical Creole Christmas dish, but in the
Cajun tradition gumbo is served for Christmas, Easter and other holidays as well (source: Cultural Food Practices, Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group, 2010).

Click here to see the full PDF file and get a Gumbo Recipe compliments of our volunteer registered dietitian, Stefania Manetti.

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