Spicy Sausage Gumbo

Ask any person of Cajun or Creole heritage how they define gumbo, and you’re likely to get a whole host of responses, coupled with some great family stories. This recipe, loosely based on our family’s gumbo, creates a thick and robust stew. (Oh, and before we ruffle too many Cajuns’ feathers: Charles’s mom hails from Alabama, where it’s quite common to add tomatoes to gumbo. Some folks swear this is sacrilege. If you prefer to omit the tomatoes, go ahead and do so.) While many iterations of gumbo involve shellfish (and in our family we have a hard time saying no to gumbo that includes freshly cleaned and picked Mobile Bay crabs), we wanted to come up with something for those times when you don’t have the extra hours to pick crab.

SERVES 6 TO 8 / PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES

2 pounds bulk pork sausage

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, or use store-bought

¼ cup coconut flour

3 cups diced, canned tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock, store-bought or homemade

3 cups chopped okra

2 cups riced cauliflower

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1. In a large Dutch oven, cook the sausage over medium-high heat. Transfer to a large bowl when cooked through, about 5 minutes.

2. Return the Dutch oven to the heat and add the coconut oil. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and Cajun seasoning, stirring frequently for about a minute.

3. Add the coconut flour and stir to coat all the onions. As the mixture begins to brown, add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock along with the okra and cauliflower. Cover and bring to a quick boil.

4. Once boiling, return the sausage to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with a healthy garnish of green onion.

HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE

Cauliflower “rice” is one of our favorite Paleo substitutions and for good reason—cauliflower packs a much bigger nutritional punch than regular rice—and it’s so much quicker to cook! It’s so popular that stores like Trader Joe’s are now selling packaged frozen cauliflower rice. While already riced cauliflower is convenient and makes less of a mess in the kitchen, making your own is easy and much more gentle on the budget. Bonus: You can freeze your own too.

TO MAKE THE RICE: Remove and discard the green leaves and the core from a head of cauliflower. Chop the florets into small pieces. Working in a few batches, add some of the florets to a food processor and pulse until you have a rice-like consistency. Alternately, you can also use the shredding blade on the processor to create the rice. If you don’t have a food processor, a box grater is a good substitute, though you’ll probably have a lot of cauliflower bits all over the kitchen to clean up when you’re done.

Although fresh cauliflower rice freezes well (see below), we do not recommend making rice out of store-bought, frozen cauliflower as the texture is not quite right.

TO FREEZE: Place the raw cauliflower rice in a resealable freezer bag or two. Remove as much of the air as possible, seal, and freeze. You can also spread the riced cauliflower onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze that way so it doesn’t clump as much, and then place it in a resealable freezer bag.

To serve, we will oftentimes use raw cauliflower rice in place of regular rice, but we know some people prefer a cooked cauliflower rice. You can either steam the rice in the microwave or sauté it with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil (or other fat), along with a few tablespoons of chicken stock.