We had a hankerin for something different for our sunday dinner this weekend. Then I had a timely conversation with a dear friend who fell in love and moved to Tennessee and now owns and runs a restaurant called Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe & Catering Company.
I did some research and decided to try and create a vegetarian Gumbo. I had no idea what I was in for. After getting excellent instructions from my friend and reading a few intense suggestions about creating the critical roux, I sorely underestimated how lost I would feel in my first roux-making adventure. It seemed to work out. Everyone loved it! I’ll do my best to recount what I did. I’m certain I broke all kinds of tradition and rules, but whatever I did it was delicious!
Green Diva Meg’s Vegetarian Gumbo Adventure Recipe . . .
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbls. of canola oil
- 1 cup all purpose white flour
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 1 red pepper (diced)
- 1 green pepper (diced)
- several celery stalks (diced)
- 1 small eggplant (diced)
- 1/2 pound mushrooms (sliced)
- 4 – 5 carrots (sliced)
- Tofu sausage (sliced)
- several cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 2 – 4 Tbls. Cajun Creole seasoning
- 2 – 3 quarts good vegetable stock
- salt to tastse
- brown rice pilaf*
- Roux the day . . . First of all, if you have never created a cajun roux, I recommend googling ‘cajun roux recipes’ and doing some reading and also doing the same search and looking at some of the images so you can see the varying colors in varying stages. Wear comfortable shoes and clear the decks because you could be standing and stirring/whisking for close to an hour!
- Prepare the vegetables before starting the roux. Mix equal parts of the celery, peppers and onions for a total of about 2 cups – this mixture is also known as the holy trinity or mirepoix.
- Saute the carrots, eggplant and mushrooms in another large soup pan in the oil, flavoring with a teaspoon of the crushed garlic. Once the vegetables are soft and slightly cooked, add the sliced tofu sausage and cook for a couple of more minutes. Then add 2 quarts of chicken stock, another teaspoon of garlic and about a tablespoon of the cajun creole seasoning and keep on low heat while you prepare the roux.
- Prepare the brown rice pilaf. Please see Green Diva Meg’s Easy Brown Rice Pilaf recipe.
- Heat 3/4 cup of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat for a few minutes then slowly added the flour whisking until it was all blended smooth. As you will have read, whatever you do, don’t stop stirring and don’t burn the flour! If it seems to be bubbling too much, just lower the heat – it may take a little longer, but it won’t burn. Once it starts getting darker and caramel colored, lower the heat and put about 1 tablespoon of the cajun creole seasoning in and blend well. Then put in about 2 cups of the chopped mirepoix/holy trinity (peppers, onions, celery). Keep the heat low and quickly blend everything cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Put the roux into the other pot with the vegetables and stock – carefully! Stir well, add salt to taste, keep on medium low heat and put a lid loosely on top. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occassionally.
It was a surprising success. A bit of work, but worth it!