A great way to make gumbo lighter in calories is to use a dry roux.
This is made with no oil which results in less fat content and is a boon to lovers of gumbo who must be careful of fat intake. It is easy to make, stores well and makes an authentic Louisiana gumbo.
Place 1-2 cups of flour in a large heavy pot or a deep iron skillet on medium heat and stir constantly for 15 to 20 minutes. Continue stirring until close to the color of peanut butter or pecans. It must be a lighter color than a standard version made with oil. The lighter color will result in a dark gumbo.
Store in a glass jar or plastic container.
For larger quantities this can be done in an oven.
Oven Baked Roux
Place 3-4 cups flour in a big iron skillet or heavy dutch oven. Put in a 400 degree oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on your individual oven the cooking time may be more or it could be less. Stir at 5-7 minute intervals. When it reaches an evenly browned peanut butter color remove and let cool. Store in a jar or plastic container.
Both will keep well stored in a refrigerator.
To make gumbo simply substitute the same volume of this roux with flour specified in the recipe. To use mix with equal parts of water and stir until blended smooth. Saute vegetables in this until soft then follow recipe.
Another approach to using this roux is to simply put it in your pot of water or stock along with your cooking ingredients. It will float on top but simply stir while the ingredients come up to heat and it will blend in. Each individual recipe in these pages describes the best approach.