When Fred’s back first went out and we were considering early retirement for him, we had to eat from our pantry and freezer for about 6 weeks before the disability checks started coming in. I had lots of weird things in the freezer that had seemed like a good idea at the time, but which I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with. One of those things was a sale on Gumbo Style Frozen Vegetables, 2-bags for $1. They must have been on sale because no one else was buying them, because I’ve been unable to find them since. I bought 6 bags at the time because they were so cheap and my family likes gumbo. One of the meals I prepared with those frozen gumbo veggies turned out to be a family favorite and we’ve had it many times since those lean weeks way back when.
The only problem was, when I went to buy more frozen gumbo veggies, they were not to be found anywhere. If you can find gumbo veggies where you live, then simply use two 12-ounce bags of frozen gumbo veggies to replace the vegetables called for below.
I always use okra in this stew because I adore okra and would eat it every day if I could. Not everyone likes okra. If you don’t then feel free to replace it with cut green beans, frozen or canned.
If you don’t have green peppers then you can leave them out, or replace them with a couple more stalks of celery. If you don’t have canned tomatoes with green chiles, then regular canned tomatoes will work just as well.
Sometimes I add some frozen baby shrimp to my gumbo. You could also add leftover chicken or ham, or smoked sausage, or cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage or sliced hotdogs. It’s good just plain vegetarian style too.
Blackeyed Pea Gumbo
For the Blackeyed Peas
- 1-cup dry blackeyed peas
- 4 cups water
For the Vegetables
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 green pepper, chopped (1/2 to 1-cup frozen)
- 2 cups frozen okra OR green beans
- 1 to 2 cups frozen corn or 15-ounce can of corn
For the Rest
- 2 teaspoons broth powder, or 2 bouillon cubes, any flavor
- 10 ounce can tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
- 1/2-teaspoon EACH chili powder, Italian seasonings and garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper or red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine or other fat of your choice
- Cooked Rice
In a 3-quart saucepan combine the blackeyed peas and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid or pie plate. Simmer the beans for about 45 minutes, or until they are mostly tender.
Add all of the remaining ingredients. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes, or until the peas are plump and tender and the vegetables are cooked to your liking. You may need to add more water as the mixture cooks. It should be a little thicker than stew. Serve over bowls of hot steaming rice.
To get the rice done at the same time as the Gumbo, start it to cooking right after adding everything to the blackeyed peas. It should be ready at the same time the gumbo the is done cooking. Serve cornbread or corn muffins or cornpone on the side if desired.
When I was younger I wasn’t especially fond of blackeyed peas or okra. I thought the people who loved this stuff must be really countrified and didn’t know any better. I was wrong. Plain boiled blackeyed peas and plain boiled okra aren’t especially interesting to the palate, but when they are doctored up with hot peppers, corn and tomatoes they turn into something really yummy.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.