I very nearly headed over to New Orleans once because I heard the restaurants there served up crabs as big as dinner plates, but unfortunately, got detoured to Florida instead (not that Florida's any less lovely, mind). Anyway, the point here is that I missed the opportunity to sample authentic Louisianan Gumbo. Where I am living right now, Louisiana just seems very far away... even though it isn't, not really.
Imagine my surprise when Penny of Jeroxie blog announced the theme of this month's IIP - Gumbo. I had to Google it up to see how gumbo actually looked like and what ingredients made it up. While the most well-known gumbos apparently contains seafood or fowl with added sausage, there's also the meatless gumbo z'herbes that's composed of slow-cooked greens. I decided on a vegetarian version, one less complicated than gumbo z'herbes, with added Andouille sausage. Or rather, a vegan take on Andouille.
Vegan Andouille sausage ingredients
Clockwise from top left: Black pepper, oregano, fennel seeds, butter beans, spelt flour, chilli powder, cumin, garlic
I made the sausages first, as they needed to be stewed with the rest of the gumbo ingredients. I used the same method as my lentil sausages in a previous IIP, but substituted the lentil flour with spelt flour, tofu with butter beans, while tapioca flour/starch remained as the 'glue' binding the sausage together. The spicy sausages were rolled extra-chunky (1.5 inch diameter) so they could stand up to the stewing process.
When I think of New Orleans, I think of Mardi Gras and hence, no gumbo of mine would be complete without accompanying party masks made out of pie crust dough. (Just halve the recipe here to make about 10 masks - leave out the seasonings). The buttery, flaky masks were a delicious replacement for bread or rice and definitely added a bit of festivity to the dish. I know...my masks were brown-ish. Browner than I intended because between the manic vegetable-chopping, sausage-rolling and attending to my little helper's petulant needs, I forgot the masks were still baking in the oven. Until, that was, my nose reminded me...
A vegetable stew needn't be stereotypically dull nor all green in composition, so I deliberately chose the most colorful vegetables - red bell pepper, carrots, baby corn, french beans, white radish and of course, a gumbo just wouldn't be complete, apparently, without okra. Between the okra and roux, the stew thickened up really, really well.
Never having tasted gumbo before this (nor cooked it, for that matter), I didn't know what to expect out of this recipe. There wasn't anything in my mental palate to compare to this to any other gumbos. My verdict: other than it being slightly spicy, this vegan party gumbo tasted ridiculously good and made me all warm and fuzzy eating it. Now that's definitely a feeling worth replicating again another day!
This six-vegetable and sausage gumbo would make party-goer joyous!
Finally putting this poor guy out of his misery...
Other International Incident Party-goers will also be sharing their gumbos with the rest of the blogosphere today. If you're curious about how they've turned out, click on the the thumbnails below to have a peek.
Vegan Andouille SausageMakes 3 thick sausages (5-inches)
1 cup canned butter beans, drained
3/4 cup cold vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 6 fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready, bring water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.
2. Have ready 3 sheets each of parchment paper and tin foil. Throw all the ingredients together in a food processor and mix until it forms a rather soft dough. Add the water gradually, you don't want the mixture to be runny.
3. Divide dough into 3 portions. Spoon one portion onto parchment paper placed on top of a tin foil. Mold into a 5-inch log. Wrap parchment paper in tin foil and twist the ends tight. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome!
3. Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 45 minutes. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before opening and slicing.
Vegetable Gumbo with Vegan Andouille Sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup flour
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1cup red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup French beans, sliced
1 cup white radish, peeled and sliced
2 cups okra, sliced
3-4 cups vegetable broth or water
2 vegan Andouille sausages, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Stir together oil and flour in a heavy-bottomed pan until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.
2. Add onion, garlic and all the vegetables and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth.
3. Add sliced sausages, thyme, bay leaves, basil, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Add more water if it gets too thick and adjust seasonings. Serve with crusty masks/rice/bread.