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Food Jobs Work 'Use it Up!' Gumbo

(KATV Photo)

Chef Michael Easley

- 1 T. oil

- 2 c. trinity (trinity = onion, celery, bell pepper)

- 1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock (make with vegetable scraps - any veg scraps from the fridge, use all leftovers from recipe below)

- 1/2 cup dark roux (cold/room temp, make ahead and store)

- Blackening seasoning to taste

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Green onion for garnish

Grits:

- 2 cups vegetable stock

- 2 cups half and half

- 1 cup yellow grits

- 1 cup shredded cheese

This time of year, after the holidays, we may have a lot of odds and ends in the fridge that may get thrown away if you don't find a way to use them. Today we'll make a gumbo, which a lot of people are really particular about, but in reality it's always been a way to use up common ingredients.

Sweat the trinity in the oil in the sauté pan. When the veggies are soft and the onion is translucent, add the stock and bring back to a simmer. Add the roux, stir well to combine, bring back to simmer until thickened. Add seasoning.

For the grits, bring the vegetable stock and half and half to a gentle boil in a small pot. Gradually add dry grits while whisking. Continue cooking over medium heat while whisking until desired consistency and grains are cooked through. Add cheese and mix well.

Place a serving of grits on the plate and top with gumbo, then garnish with green onion.

NOTES:

Items we'll re-use:

- The middle of celery - It may not have the same color, but the middle of a celery stalk has lots of flavor, including the leafy greens.

- Ends of bell peppers and onions - Instead of throwing these away, you can cut them down to avoid waste.

- White parts of green onions - The white parts can be sliced and used just like regular onions.

- All the remaining bits of the above can be covered with water and simmered for just 30 minutes, and you've got a quick and economical vegetable stock. It's okay to use the peels of the onions, as they add color.

Other tips:

- Roux can be made in bulk and stored at room temperature. The dark roux used for gumbo has less thickening power but more flavor.

-Serving gumbo on grits instead of rice is a fun change up. When it's cold and wet outside, it's a great combination that will warm you right up!

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