Hey guys! I'm so excited that I had so many wonderful responses to my cooking and I wanted to continue with some different kinds of meals I've been cooking since I was a kid! I live for Creole food and one of my favourite dishes growing up was Gumbo, it was something that I remember being tasty even with the meat parts omitted. Now this is going to sound absurd but when you are brought up by meat eaters who aren't the most diverse cooks, you take what you get. And I liked it!
I remember Gumbos and Jambalayas that just were full of flavour and I loved the idea that you could almost use what you had, throw in the seafood, the sausage, the meat. Whatever! So here is a vegan alternative that is totally unintimidating, it's not as heavy and is insane for dinner parties.
So the difference between the two aforementioned dishes is the roux. It's something that is a base to a lot of sauces, it's very popular in Creole cooking and actually, is one of the few things my mum could cook. You basically can do this in the conventional way, which included butter and white flour in equal proportions. You then cook them in a pan by melting the butter, sieving the flour and allowing it to form a 'ball' that doesn't stick. To do a vegan version, I used a vegetable oil in place of the butter, and flour.
When you first mix the two smoothly and be careful that it doesn't lump immediately, it will look like the first photo. I have an immersion hob in this property so it's not the most conventional, but I have it on a medium to high setting, a 7 or so. I then add water or almond milk. In the middle image, you can see how the water almost turns the mixture into wild wormy looking things. Trust! keep it going and it will leap up and thicken and you will get the base on the right.
This is basically the easiest base for any kind of sauce you wanted to do so like if you wanted to do a vegan carbonara and you were struggling to find a recipe, I promise you can add some mustard seeds and some vegan cheese and onions, maybe pine nuts with some liquid smoke. You go wild. You can do a peppercorn sauce, you can do a horseradish thing if that floats your boat. For this one, this is a thickener and base to the gumbo so I added basic seasoning and set aside.
Next I was looking in my cupboard and thinking about what I could use for the base. Now traditionally you use a sausage, a seafood and whatever else. You also find Ocra to be very commonplace because it has a gelatinous effect on the sauce, but I aint into those lady fingers too much so I removed them. So I have a squash, some tomatoes. I have some vegan quorn, some red and white onions, a frozen vegetable pack which had carrots, peas and sweetcorn. And this bizarre but summery rice substitute made from broccoli. I also had some sausages that I let defrost. I chose to use quinoa, I prefer quinoa at the moment to rice but you can cook some long grain rice in stock for more of a traditional option.
So I started by frying the onions, adding the vegetable mix. I always put the squash with the quinoa or rice because I've had a really difficult time adjusting to this type of hob and for whatever reason, it like blasts heat into whatever your cooking instead of a gradual heat, so you end up with a sloshy mush of vegetables as opposed to yummy textures. So I've mentioned the recipe for quinoa before in my last blog, I throw the squash in for about 15 minutes or so and allow the juices to soak up. I have to mention you always rince quinoa before as it can have a bitter nutty flavour that takes away from how simple it is.
Then I added the sausage sliced, the quorn, kept everything very simplistic. I then began to add the roux, I then started to add some tomato puree and the selection of spices you can see above. I also added cajun spice and vegetable stock.
I then combined the fluffed quinoa and squash, again this is to my tastes as I'm not a huge fan of Ocra but if you wanted to add some large green jalapenos or something more traditional it would definitely be a plus. I thought that a fun and super nutritious option would be to let the meal cook out for about 20 more minutes and for the last 5 of that, add the broccoli rice. It just brings a really cool summery feel to the dish and takes away some of the headiness!
So here is the final and I'm so grateful you guys enjoyed the images! It is such a delicious dish but I couldn't resist serving it with some vegan yogurt mixed with garlic, onion salt and chilli flakes. It was the bomb dot com!
I have some new bits filmed, let me know what you would like me to show next and if you try any of these out!