There are a few steps to preparing the seasoned oil-and-flour roux that thickens this gumbo, but the unique, smoky flavour of roasted spices and barley is worth the effort. Substitute chicken for the turkey, if preferred.


  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground white or black pepper
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) whole barley flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 lb (375 g) turkey sausage (bratwurst style) cut into bite-sized slices
  • ½ cup (125 mL) white wine (or low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup (125 mL) pearl or pot barley
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dried green lentils, or 1 14-oz (398 mL) can, drained
  • 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined (optional)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) lightly packed, chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet with a lid, or a Dutch oven, heat oil over low heat. Stir in Italian seasoning, pepper, cayenne and flour to form a roux. Stir slowly with a fork or whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until the roux has browned. Add garlic, onion, sweet pepper, fennel and sweet potato; stir well to coat vegetables with roux. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, just until onion begins to soften.

Add turkey breast and sausage and continue cooking until lightly browned.

Add wine; using a spatula, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This will make a dark sauce.

Stir in broth until well combined. Stir in barley and lentils. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barley and lentils are tender. Add a little water, if necessary, to keep the consistency similar to a thick chowder.

If using shrimp, add and simmer until shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Serve gumbo in shallow bowls, garnished with cilantro.

Makes 6 servings (1 ½ cups/375 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 405; Protein: 38 g; Carbohydrate: 36 g; Fibre: 8 g; Sugars: 4 g; Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Trans Fat: 0.2 g; Cholesterol: 76 mg; Sodium: 533 mg; Potassium: 673 mg