intrepid archaeologist, avid cook

Gumbo fritters

In my house there are two things that are always a hit: gumbo and pancakes.  So one night when I was feeling particularly lazy and didn’t want to make an actual meal, I invented gumbo fritters.  I know, most people would order Chinese food when they were feeling lazy, but I had a lot of okra that needed to be used, and we had Chinese the night before owing to the fact that I couldn’t put the boy down long enough to peel a potato.

These were an instant hit.  DH told me they were the best thing I had invented ever.  I disagree, but they were still pretty good, and frankly, anything you can eat with your fingers is bound to be the best thing ever.

I had started the day without eggs, and this situation had not changed, owing to the fact that I did not stop on my way home.  In the morning, we had wanted pancakes, so I looked up an eggless pancake batter recipe right here on the web (it’s here:, if you are ever in need.  Some of the comments there are not the nicest, but I thought the pancakes I made with it were delicious.).  I started with that recipe as a starting point.  I changed some things, obviously, since I was making a savory dish, but essentially, the important parts were all the same.

My father is a volunteer firefighter, and 4 or 5 times a summer, they hold a BBQ and make the best chicken.  I get extras and freeze them because they are perfect for gumbo (which is, as I mentioned, a perennial favorite in my house).  I grabbed one of these bad boys out and defrosted it.  I suppose you could cook up some chicken fresh for this, but it really is a great recipe to use up some leftovers, and it’s much easier to prep if the chicken is already cooked.  Anyway, I deboned and cut up the chicken and added it to the batter.  I then chopped up some onion and garlic and put them in a skillet to saute and then added that to the batter as well.  grated carrots, potatoes and zucchiniThen I grated two carrots (white and purple, well, really mostly red, but the outside is purple) a zucchini, and a potato (also purple).  I chopped up some okra (both green and purple – i just love heirloom varieties) and cut some corn off the cob.  I added chopped celery leaf and chopped parsley.  I mixed this all together and made a rather thick batter.  In actuality, there was more added to the batter than there was batter, but that is really the secret to a good fritter.  The only thing left to do was put them in hot oil and fry these bad boys up.  remember, don't crowd them!

I used a cookie scoop to get about a tablespoon of the batter and dropped it into the oil, which was good and hot.  Remember to check the oil before you put the batter in.  Flick it with water and then add a little bit of your batter.  If your oil isn’t hot enough, the batter will absorb a lot of the oil and they won’t be very good.  I flattened out the batter into the oil and let it brown on one side, flipped it and let it brown on the other side.  Then I pulled them out and put them on a plate with a paper towel on it.  I separated layers of fritters with a paper towel.  This recipe makes a lot (around 35-40) of fritters, so either be really hungry or invite some people over to eat them…

I also made a sour cream dip for these.  They don’t need it, really, but it adds a nice touch to the fritter.

Gumbo Fritters:

1 half chicken, cooked, deboned and chopped

1 potato grated

1 zucchini grated

2 med carrots grated

1 med onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8-10 okra chopped

1 ear of corn, cut off the cob

~1/4 cup fresh celery leaf, chopped

~1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

for the batter:

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups milk

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp water

4 tbsp butter, melted

For the dip:

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp house seasoning

1 tsp crushed red pepper

To make the batter, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add the milk, water and oil and mix until just incorporated.  It will be and should be pretty lumpy; let it sit for a few minutes.  In a skillet, melt the butter, then add the melted butter to the batter.  Get your oil started in the pan.  I put in at least a 1/2 inch of oil in my skillet.  Heat it up on high heat, and when it is hot, but before you are ready to add your batter, turn it down to medium.   Add all the good stuff (i.e. the things you chopped up and sauteed at the beginning of this adventure) to your batter.

Spoon about 1 tbsp of batter into the hot oil and flatten it out.  When the edges of the fritter are golden, flip it over – this should take 3-5 minutes – and let that side cook.  Remove fritter and let drain on a paper towel.

While you wait for your fritters to cook, mix the sour cream up with the house seasoning and the red pepper.  It is best to do this at the beginning of when you are cooking the fritters because it allows the flavors of the spices to incorporate fully into the sour cream.



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