This month's selection for our Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew was a novel by Ernest Gaines called "A Lesson Before Dying". This book was chosen by Renee of Tortillas and Honey. You can see her invitation post here and learn how to join us. You have nearly the whole month to read this book and it only took me 3 days.
This novel is set in Louisiana in the 1940's, a time when people in that area still held on to the belief that people were lesser than others just due to the color of their skin. It is a novel of a poor and uneducated man, Jefferson, who is wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to death. In an attempt to save him from a death sentence, his defense attorney, tells the jury that the defendant is nothing more than a hog and killing him would be the same as killing a hog.
One of the locals, Grant Wiggins, was able to complete his education, go to University and has returned to teach the children of the plantation during the off season of hard labor. Grant is assigned, by his aunt and her best friend, who is Jefferson's Godmother, the task of convincing Jefferson that he is not a hog so that he may die with dignity. This is not a task that Grant willingly takes on but his aunt is not going to allow him to say no. It is the story of how Grant was not only the teacher during his visits with Jefferson but also the student and together they learned about dignity, heroism and courage. A very deep and touching story.
Each visit Grant would bring a large basket of food with him, made by Jefferson's Godmother, that Jefferson would refuse to eat because "humans eat human food, hogs don't eat human food". To show his point, at one time, Jefferson got down on his knees, stuck his face in the basket and without using his hands ate as a hog would. It was hard work for Grant to convince Jefferson that he was a worthwhile human being and the first inkling Grant had that he was getting through to Jefferson is when Jefferson sat down with his Godmother, Grant and Grant's Aunt to have a meal of Gumbo that his Godmother had brought to him.
So, I knew that I wanted to make Gumbo. That was a given. It was just a matter of finding and preparing the recipe to post.
This is where the lucky part comes in...you thought I forgot didn't you?
My friend, Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, not only leads the Book Club Cook Book CC but she is also Group B leader of Secret Recipe Club. Cam put out a call for help because one of her members was unable to participate this month and she needed a substitute. I love SRC and am always happy to step in as a guest in another group, so I volunteered.
I was assigned to four lovely bloggers who create Flavors by Four. All four of them take turns posting different recipes. How much fun and variety is that?!
Since I knew I wanted to make Gumbo this week I was hoping that they would have a Gumbo recipe I could use. They did!! And it is a slow cooker recipe as well. I was very happy!!
This recipe was provided by Nicole. I substituted dark meat for the chicken breast meat and used smoked kielbasa in place of the andouille sausage called for in the recipe or the Italian sausage substituted by Nicole. I didn't have any tomato juice so I added a can of tomatoes instead and substituted bell peppers for the poblano peppers because that was what I had. The seasonings are the same but for some I used Gourmet Garden instead of dried. Nicole suggested adding the okra halfway through. I wasn't going to be around to do this so after stirring all the other ingredients I added the okra, still frozen, to the top and did not stir it into the liquid.
This is the perfect recipe in my book. Easy Peasy and Delicious. Thanks Nicole, it was nice getting to meet the four of you.
Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo
adapted from Flavors by Four
1 1/2 lbs skinless dark meat of chicken, cut into large dice
2 links smoked kielbasa, cut into 2" chunks
1 large onion, large diced
2 green bell peppers, large diced
1 (10 oz) pkg of frozen okra
2 stalks celery, cut into 1" slices
1 (5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried oregano or 2 t. Gourmet Garden oregano
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder or 1 t. Gourmet Garden chunky garlic
1/2 t. mustard powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper or 1/4 t. Gourmet Garden chile paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 T. olive oil
Spread olive oil on bottom of slow cooker crock. Add the chicken and toss to coat in oil. Add the sausage and vegetables except for okra. Add tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Stir to mix well. Add the frozen okra on top, do not stir in. Cook on low heat for 8 hrs. Serve over cooked rice. Print Recipe
Now let's take a look at what the other SRC Members discovered on their assigned blogs.
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