Veggie Gumbo

So the farm produces a lot of okra. We’ve roasted it and that’s pretty good, but my husband keeps saying “gumbo!”

Now the truth is that my husband loves me, but he’d love me a whole lot more if I ate a steak once in a while, or loved chicken every night. And the truth is that I used to eat chicken, but then my daughter and I went vegetarian. I’m not going to say it’s been easy, but we make it work. Still, he was aghast when he saw I made gumbo without any seafood.

I would have thought about that, but I knew the soup was going to be sitting around for more than a few days, and I was worried that the shrimp would turn before the veggies. Besides, I had enough chopping facing me as it was.

I turned to my trusty friend Vegetarian Times for a recipe and they did not disappoint. This recipe was my starting point.

  • ½ cup vegetable oil (yes, it is a lot of oil, but it really does make the soup worthwhile. Just use a good oil. I went with grapeseed.)
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 onion, chopped (Vidalia, what else?)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or sliced okra
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed from cob
  • Box of veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Stir together oil and flour in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over high heat 10 minutes, or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

Between the okra and the barley, this makes a fierce, thick stew. My husband bought some sausage and ate that along with it and that seemed to work. This made an enormous amount of stew, so if you make it, get ready to enjoy it a lot!

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