Time was when it took my mama all day to make gumbo, but here’s a recipe that delivers the same New Orleans taste in a fourth of the time.
Shortcut Chicken and Seafood Gumbo
· One box of Zatarain’s gumbo base or any available brand (with or without rice)
· Six to eight pieces of Popeye’s spicy chicken
Note: If you live in an area without Popeye’s, simply purchase a cutup chicken (or chicken parts). Wash and season it, leaning heavily on creole/Cajun seasoning. Flour and brown it in the cooking oil of your choice.
· Two to three large links of country sausage, sliced crosswise
· One small can of stewed tomatoes
· One pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
· A cluster of crab legs
· A couple of drops of crab boil (optional)
· One half teaspoon of gumbo file (ground sassafras leaves)
· One small bag of frozen cut okra
Add three quarts of cold water to a medium-sized pot. Empty the box of gumbo base into the pot, and stir thoroughly until the base is dissolved. (It will clump if added to hot water.) Add chicken and sausage, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring frequently.
Add tomatoes, shrimp, crab legs, crab boil, and gumbo file. Simmer for another five to seven minutes. Add okra and continue simmering until the okra is tender but still firm enough to hold its form. Add additional creole/Cajun seasoning to taste if need be.
Dinah Devereaux, New Orleans-born slave and ex-seamstress, suddenly finds herself relegated to a sweltering kitchen on a Natchez town estate. Having never cooked a day in her life, she is terrified of being found out and banished to the cotton fields. But when she accidentally burns the freedom papers of Jonathan Mayfield, a handsome free man of color to whom she's attracted, her fear of the fields becomes secondary.
A gifted cabinetmaker, Jonathan Mayfield’s heart is set on finally becoming a respected businessman by outfitting a bedroom at the palatial Riverwood—until a beautiful new slave destroys his proof of freedom and his fragile confidence along with it.
When Dinah's new mistress orders her to work alongside the sullen Mr. Mayfield, sparks fly setting the two on a collision course. Is their mutual love for God strong enough to overcome deep-seated insecurities and set the couple on a path toward self-acceptance and love for each other?
Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock is a multi-published author whose works range from her “Christmas Lights” in Christmas Stories from Mississippi to her memoirs in Children of the Changing South: Accounts of Growing Up During and After Integration. Her first novel, A Most Precious Gift, released in August, 2014, and her story, “A Bracelet for Christmas,” is included in Guideposts’ A Cup of Christmas Cheer, October, 2014. A member of ACFW, Jacqueline is an avid reader of Christian fiction. She is a retired high school and college English teacher, and she and her husband Donald reside in central Mississippi. They are the parents of two adult children and one beloved granddaughter.