“If you’ve never made gumbo before, this is a good place to start. Once you have perfected this foundational recipe, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do with it — you can add a savoury protein such as my Barley Sausage (page 57 of Mississippi Vegan) or Smoky Baked Tofu (page 164). For a lighter and more vegetable-focused version of this dish, try using shredded artichoke hearts, large chunks of carrots, squash, or zucchini. ”
In a bowl, combine the onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. Remove 1½ cups of this mixture and transfer to a separate bowl (you’ll add this to the gumbo toward the end). Set both bowls aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, wine, tamari, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the oregano, thyme, jalapeño, if using, mustard, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
Now you are ready to make the roux! In a large clean, well-greased cast-iron skillet (be sure to wipe out any residue), heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the flour and stir constantly with a large wooden spatula, until it is well combined. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring until the roux is dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes. The goal here is to toast the flour and oil while preventing the mixture from burning. You do this by moving the flour and oil mixture constantly. If you stop for only a moment, the roux will burn and you will have to start over.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the larger amount of the onion mixture (not the reserved 1½ cups). Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
Mix all of the Creole spice blend ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined, then add to the vegetables and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, toasting all of the spices. Now you have the base of your gumbo!
Transfer the base to a large stockpot. Add the broth mixture and bay leaves. Mix well and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the bottom from burning. Once at a boil, uncover and cook for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce and thicken the gumbo.
Add the green onions, okra, the remaining ½ cup parsley, and the reserved 1½ cups onion mixture. If desired, add 1 to 2 cups water to loosen the gumbo. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Give the gumbo a taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Feel free to add more cayenne pepper at this point to make it spicy as well.
To serve, ladle the gumbo into serving bowls, removing any bay leaves. Add a small scoop of cooked rice on top and garnish with the chopped parsley and green onions.