This past May, I joined the Junior League of Wichita as a provisional member. The Junior League (“JLW”) is, by definition, an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Now, this is not just a mission statement. In the 6 short months that I’ve been a part of this organization, I have already been exposed to an enormous array of ways that JLW contributes to the community. I’ve shared laughs with kids while eating soup with my hands at a Girl Scout camp; I’ve been granted behind-the-scenes tours at local attractions such as the zoo and art museums; I’ve been on-set at KPTS and I’ve practiced English with a girl from central Mexico who doesn’t yet have the speaking skills to attend college.
Even more wonderful? I’m experiencing all of these things with a group of 60 women, only two of whom I knew before joining JLW. These women are already familiar faces who make this entire experience not only more rewarding, but a ton of fun.
A key fundraiser for the Junior League of Wichita is the sale of their two cookbooks – the original being here. I learned very early that many Junior Leagues nationwide sell cookbooks, full of recipes that are tried and tested by their respective Junior League members. JLW is currently in the recipe-testing stage of its third cookbook and this week, I am a tester! I happily submitted my name and mentioned that I’d love some “soups or salads.” A few days later, a member of the cookbook committee emailed two recipes to me: a non-traditional gumbo, and an asparagus and snap pea salad. I can’t wait to share both with you – both are total winners and I hope to see them in the final cookbook!
I also hope to see one of the 34 recipes that I submitted – surely one of them is bound to make the final cut! Over 1,000 recipes are collected, and then tested and scrutinized by multiple people; I believe the final cookbook has less than 200 recipes.
Regardless of whether the recipe below goes into print, it’s staying in my personal collection. Brett, being a huge fan of any type of meat, loved that this gumbo has italian sausage, chicken and shrimp! The flavor of the italian sausage in particular permeates the entire dish and this results in an intensely rich soup. As is true with so many soups, I recommend a warm crusty bread and cool salad alongside.
Linda’s Gumbo – from the testing collection of JLW’s up-and-coming cookbook
1 lb sweet italian sausage bratwursts
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb raw, thawed shrimp with tails removed
28 oz. chicken broth
28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
14 oz Great Northern beans, undrained
14 oz butter beans, undrained
14 oz corn, undrained
1 pkg frozen okra
1 pkg frozen black-eye peas
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove sausage from casings. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Cook both sausage and chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.
2. In a large stockpot or crockpot, place all ingredients except shrimp. If using a stockpot, simmer for an hour. If using a crockpot, place on high for several hours.
3. Add shrimp in last 5 minutes. Serve when shrimp is cooked through.