You'd never guess that this meaty gumbo is actually meat-free!
Meaty Gumbo [Vegan]
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small-medium finely diced yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped fine
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
- 1 teaspoon file (dried sassafras leaves)
- 1-14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 3 3/4 cups vegan "chicken"-flavored broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/4 cup vegan fish sauce
- 8 ounces vegan chicken strips, thawed
- 14 ounces vegan Italian sausages, halved lengthwise, grilled in a grill pan (or heated however you prefer) and sliced thin
- 2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large cast iron skillet or heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, toast ¾ cup flour, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in oil until smooth. Cover (use foil if you have no lid that fits your pan), transfer skillet or pot to oven, and cook until mixture is deep brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes, checking after 10. It will look almost chocolatey or the color of an old copper penny. (If not making gumbo right away, store roux in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To use, heat the roux in a cast iron skillet or heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until just smoking, and continue with step 2.)
- Transfer skillet or Dutch oven to stovetop and whisk cooked roux to combine. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. It wills seem quite dry. Stir in garlic, thyme, and file, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and vegan fish sauce until smooth, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in vegan chicken, vegan sausage, and okra, and simmer for about 20 minutes while rice cooks; reduce heat to medium if cooking too fast. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a scoop of white rice and, possibly, biscuits or garlic bread.