If there's one type of cuisine that is severely underrated in Vancouver, it's Southern food. It is incredibly hard to find Creole or Cajun cooking in the city. Ouisie Bistro is the only option that comes to mind but I wouldn't consider that to be truly authentic (their mint juleps are fantastic though!).
Although the spring equinox just passed, it's still incredibly chilly here. I had quite a few ingredients leftover and as I'm leaving to embark on my trip to China and India, I had to go all Chopped on my fridge and clean it all up! Sausage, red onion, rice, Frank's red hot sauce - this just screamed southern Creole gumbo.
There are a couple different ways to make gumbo: using okra or by using a roux to thicken. Now... it is either you love or hate okra, the green and slimy vegetable most commonly associated with southern cooking. I personally love it. Roasted or fried, it's delicious! For gumbo, its sliminess actually helps thicken the stew naturally. You are more than welcome to use a roux (butter + flour paste) to thicken it but I urge you to try it the original way.
Feel free to kick it up a notch if you find the spice level too mild too!
SOUTHERN CREOLE GUMBO (serves 6)
2 tbsp ghee (or choice of fat)
1 red onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 lb okra, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
3 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp marjoram
1/2 tbsp herbs de provence
2 andouille sausages, cooked and diced
2 cups white long-grain rice, cooked
4 tbsp frank's red hot sauce
salt + pepper, to taste
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the ghee over medium-high heat until liquified and hot.
Add the red onion, celery, and carrot and saute until the onion and celery become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in the green bell pepper and okra and saute until it begins to become slimy, about 2 minutes.
Add in both the stock and diced tomatoes with juice. Add in the spices and bring to a boil.
Lastly, add in the cooked sausage and rice an mix until combined. Add in the hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on top of additional white rice if needed.