I don’t pretend to know how to Cook like a Cajun. That would be like a Cajun saying they know the best way to make Texas BBQ.  And of course, they don’t.

What I do know is that I have more okra than I can possibly coat with buttermilk and cornmeal for a Paula Deen deep-fry.  (Which by the way, I find addictive and scrumptious…)

I also know that okra takes well to sausage and chicken and tomatoes and chilies. And we all know there is no Gulf shrimp. But by taking some minor liberties we will put together a spicy savory pot of “gumbo”.

And this one delivers on summer taste! It is packed with lots of extra garden veggies and uses a shortcut roux that gets it on the table quickly (and with a lot less fat). Throw in some brown rice and its all good!

Gather Up:
1/3 cup flour
Canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
12 ounces nitrite-free turkey smoked sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
Assorted sweet peppers, enough to make about 2 cups chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces fresh okra, thickly sliced
4 jalapenos, left whole and pierced all over with a fork
1 14-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, or equivalent fresh if available
4 cups reduced sodium organic chicken broth
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Cooked brown rice for serving

Spread the flour in a pie pan and toast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally so it browns evenly. Toast to a deep golden color, or until there is a strong aroma approaching burnt toast. Set aside to cool.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chicken and sausage and cook, stirring, until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add an additional tablespoon of oil. Add onion and sweet peppers and cook until onion is lightly browned, 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir until the fragrance is released. Stir in the toasted flour. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.

Stir in tomatoes, okra, jalapenos, bay leaf and thyme.

Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Return chicken and sausage to the pot. Heat through.

Remove chilies and bay leaf. They have fulfilled their destiny.

Taste and check seasoning. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce if needed. Serve with rice.

Recipe adapted from EatingWell.