Despite my deep Gulf Coast roots (we can trace my Dad's side of the family back to a man on the boat when d'Iberville landed) I'm not much of a seafood eater. Growing up in this area, dancing around a table of fried oysters begging for me (or so my Mama says), a grandmother that picked crabs for a living and a great grandmother that cooked some of the best seafood gumbo known to man, I'm still not a big fan of seafood. Now I'll eat the occasional crab claw, I like fried "popcorn" shrimp and I can even handle some crawfish now and then but I don't suck the heads! EWW! I prefer to stick to the food that lives out of the water. That's why my gumbo has chicken and sausage in it.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 lb. sausage, diced (I like using andouille but smoked will do) and browned
8 c. water
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 T. oil (any kind will do)
2 T. flour
1 tsp. thyme
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste or 1/2 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Mix bouillon, water, spices, shredded chicken ans diced in large pot. Set to simmer. Saute vegetables until tender and add to pot. (Sometimes I cheat on the veggies and buy a bag of seasoning blend.) Make a dark roux; add to pot and stir. Grind okra in food processor; cook down until most of the sliminess is gone**; add tomato paste. Cook down and add to pot. Cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes. Serve over rice.
** Don't let the use of okra turn you off. I know some people won't eat okra because of it's sliminess. Cooking it like this takes almost all of that away. You do not get the slimy texture after its cooked down and mixed into the gumbo.