An authentic Louisiana gumbo almost always begins with a flour-and-fat roux to thicken the stew while adding an earth-and-smoke undercurrent. Browning the flour dry, scattered and stirred in a pan, achieves virtually the same effect -- without all the calories.Just one link of andouille sausage gives the dish heaps of flavor, and okra slices bring on a velvety texture.
Gumbo is traditionally served over white rice, but crusty French bread would also be good for soaking up the rich broth. For a spicier stew, add a dash or two of hot sauce. In place of the chicken thighs, you can use leftover chicken or other meats, such as turkey or ham; if you do, skip step one, and add just before serving.
Succotash inspired this dish, which takes a delicious departure from the original. Shelled fresh cranberry beans have a meaty texture and a nutty flavor; corn cut from the cob adds sweetness. Okra gets a cornmeal coating that makes it almost croutonlike. Everything is tossed with lamb's quarter (an edible weed), baby spinach, basil leaves, and a mustard vinaigrette.