For over a year during my single-and-dieting days, I made a batch of soup in my crock pot every Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect arrangement at the time, as it provided me with a dinner or lunch every day for the following week. Several years later, I still catch myself thinking about what I’m going to put in the slow cooker on Sunday morning, even when I have no real plans to do so. This Sunday, however, I did.
I decided to try Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Hungry Girl to the Max! for our Sunday night dinner. It not only would cook unattended in the crock pot while I saw to other household chores, it would also make a big batch of food so that John and I would have several dinners already made for us this week.
I adjusted the recipe slightly, using oregano instead of thyme (John dislikes thyme). I tossed in 1/3 of a red bell pepper, which I had leftover from last night’s Shrimp & Veggie Foil Packs. I also added in a dash of cayenne pepper, as I was worried that the gumbo might not be flavorful enough.
The gumbo had flavor, as it turns out, but it also had one major flaw: it was much too broth-y. Both John and I wished that it would’ve had a thicker, tomato-based sauce that would’ve clung to the chicken, sausage, and vegetables. I had made brown rice and cornbread to go along with the gumbo, as I was not sure which would be the best accompaniment. I am glad that I did, because it took both to soak up the excess broth. Largely because of the broth, we gave the recipe not-quite-3 stars.
I have not had great luck with slow-cooker recipes of late (especially Hungry Girl ones), so this may be the last new one I try for a while. I’m finding that the slow-cooker recipes that interest me do not save me time in the kitchen anyway. I still need to chop and dice and brown and then clean up all of the dishes that the chopping, dicing, and browning makes dirty. If I am going to do all of that, I may as well skip the slow cooker.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
8 oz raw boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/8 tsp each salt and black pepper
12 oz (about 4 links) fully cooked chicken sausage, sliced into ¼-inch coins (I used Johnsonville Cajun-style Chicken Sausages)
One 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles (not drained)
3 cups (24 oz) reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
2 cups frozen cut okra
1 ½ cups chopped celery
1 green bell pepper, stem removed, seeded, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 ½ tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground thyme (I used oregano instead of thyme)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place it in a crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients and lightly stir.
2. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked. (I cooked the gumbo for three hours on high.)
3. Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return shredded chicken to the crock pot, and give your gumbo a stir.
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 1 cup). Per serving, 3 PointsPlus.