Dave Bokros' Famous Spicy Gumbo

One of my favorite summer recipes has become a somewhat modified seafood gumbo recipe I found years ago at www.epicurious.com. I included the link directly to the recipe at the end of this article. The recipe includes shrimp, scallops, and Aidelle’s andouille sausage. We were worried about the spiciness of the stew so I have never added cayenne or any spices other than some garlic, then not so much. Keep in mind that I triple all the ingredients for the race. The trick behind soups and stews is that there is no such thing as soup that you can make in less than an hour. The contents of any good soup provide most of their own seasoning, without the need for salt or too many extra spices. The right combination of ingredients brought to a boil then turned down to a slow simmer for at least an hour allows the ingredients to become old friends, lending each other something so that, whether or not you get a piece of diced tomato in a spoonful you know that it was in there
somewhere.

We get a lot of thanks from runners throughout the night, but the truth is, I would do it if nobody showed up. I am just glad that you do. Every year Keith, James, and I show up around four in the afternoon with just enough daylight left to set up the stove, get the coleman lanterns hissing away, and fire up the stove. I slice everything up at home in a nice, clean kitchen and keep everything in separate containers until it’s time for each ingredient to go into the pan. For the vegetarians I cook lentil soup. That’s the easiest. It consists of dry lentils, Swanson Organic Vegetarian Broth, three large bay leaves, and a little virgin olive oil for flavor. That’s it. With all recipes, keep it simple is the best rule to follow. Anytime you use broth, go for the lowest sodium content you can find. Salt is used to enhance flavor so that there can be less of the crucial ingredients in the broth that would normally provide the flavor.

James and his wife Kay recently moved to Texas and he was unable to make Ironhorse 2012. We missed having him there and I hope that he makes it to town for 2013. I know I will be there with the stove on slow simmer and the coleman lanterns hissing their way through the dark. To the runners I would like to say thank you for coming. It gives me a chance to cook for a crowd and an excuse to sit by afire all night and look up at the stars. See you next year.

- Dave Bokros


Spicy Gumbo-Laya Bon Appétit | June 1997
Yield: Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces fully cooked hot link sausages (about 3), cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 14 1/4-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen sliced okra
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 pound bay scallops
8 ounces uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Cayenne pepper

Preparation:
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sausage and sauté until brown, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mixture to bowl. Add onion and bell pepper to pot. Sauté until soft and brown, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir until golden, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, then diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring to boil. Mix in chicken mixture, okra and rice. Reduce heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Mix scallops and shrimp into pot. Cover and cook until seafood is cooked through, stirring
occasionally to prevent sticking, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper.

Click here to print this recipe.