Did you know the word Gumbo is related to the word for okra in some West African languages? Gumbo, a rich stew thickened by okra is originated in West Africa. The stew traveled to Louisiana with the West Africans who were brought here, and the word morphed over time into what we know as “Gumbo.” And although it is typically made with fish, this recipe is full of veggies, making it a super recipe for a lighter January meal.
This recipe is made in a slow cooker – we love slow cooker, crockpot or InstaPot – recipes that you can “prep, set and forget”. This one will feed 6 – 8 depending on the size of your bowls, and whether you serve it up with rice or not. But great news, it also freezes well.
We use a bay leaf in this recipe to add flavor and complexity to the gumbo. Bay leaves contain a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron. They can also soothe body aches, joint pain, and support a healthy immune system.
In a large sauté pan, cook the onion, bell pepper, celery and spices together in 1 TB of the oil over medium high heat until softened about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook and stir until aromatic about 1 minute. Transfer veggies to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Return the pan to the stovetop and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in it. Stir in the flour and cook and stir about 4-5 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, then add to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker except the parsley, hot sauce and cooked rice.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the gumbo has finished cooking, remove the bay leaf and add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve over rice and pass the hot sauce.