Cajun Okra Gumbo with Andouille, Chicken, and Crab with Fried Okra Croutons
- 8 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- One 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce, plus more for the fried okra
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh okra
- 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- Hot cooked rice, for serving
1. Cook the bacon in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, 8 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add the andouille and cook until lightly browned and crisp, about 5 minutes; remove to the same plate. Add the butter to the pan and when melted, add the Cajun seasoning, celery, garlic, onions and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue to cook, stirring, until the flour is a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Don't worry if the flour starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, using the whisk to start scraping all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue whisking and slowly add the chicken stock.
3. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan along with the bacon and andouille. Set aside about 8 to 10 okra pods that are about 2 inches in length. Cut the remaining pods into 1/2-inch rounds and add them to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn. Add the crab and simmer until the gumbo is slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the heat with more hot sauce if desired.
4. Meanwhile, to make the fried okra halves, cut the reserved okra in half lengthwise, leaving the stems attached. Place in a medium bowl and cover with the buttermilk and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Put the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Take the okra out of the buttermilk, shaking off the excess, and dredge in the cornmeal. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the okra, in batches if necessary, until crisp and golden brown, turning as needed, about 3 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels, and then sprinkle with salt.