First time ever trying Gumbo (vegan version), a stew that is widely popular in Louisiana, US, and immediately it had earned itself a place in the menu of my next house party. This dish is above all the vegan food my husband and I had ever made. 4 hours of simmering creates a dark roux that is so hearty, so rich and thick, almost like a gravy but with a lot of bite. It has so much umami that the stew tastes meaty without having any meat in it.
This dish is great not only because it tastes good, but also because it has so many variations in both cooking techniques and ingredients, so you are not stuck with one way of cooking it. This stew is a melting pot of different culture- it combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African, and Choctaw. Depending on the culture you get a different gumbo version.
For us, we just worked with whatever stalk veggies we had in the fridge, without following any specific recipe from any specific culture. Do stick with stalk vegetables tho ( no leafy veggie) because they give you the strongest flavour and cut them into larger chunks for more bite. We also added beer and threw in some vegan meatballs we bought from ikea.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In another cooking pot, make roux:
Over MEDIUM heat, melt margarine and gradually add flour, stirring constantly to form a smooth paste. Add spices, Tabasco and salt (if using). Gradually add vegetable soup stock and beer, stirring constantly. Cover and cook over MEDIUM-HIGH heat until slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
Combine the veggie and the soup and cook on Medium for 4-6 hours or longer. Adding fast cook veggies like okra / bell peppers/vegan meatballs, etc for last 30-45 minutes of cooking time ( on med-high). Recipe credit: https://www.thespicehouse.com/recipes/southern-nights-slow-cooker-veggie-sausage-gumbo