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After taking on a healthier lifestyle, American Idol's Randy Jackson shares his version of a Cajun classic

Growing up down South, Randy Jackson developed a taste for the richest of fare, and while most of those original recipes are off-limits, he has learned how to enjoy the taste without the calories, fat, and guilt with the help of chef Jeff Parker, a nutritionist, and his own cook. “Even a Baton Rouge boy like me can hardly tell that they’ve been slimmed down,” he says. Here’s one of the many recipes from his new book, Body With Soul: Slash Sugar, Cut Cholesterol, and Get a Jump on Your Best Health Ever, in bookstores Dec. 2.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Ya-Ya
Makes 12 servings

3/4 cup flour
1 lb ground turkey breast
2 tbsp salt-free Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne, or more if needed
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
3 tbsp minced garlic, divided
2 tbsp canola oil
4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 large onions, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
8 cups fat-free chicken stock
8 oz okra, tops trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb medium shrimp, thawed if frozen, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400º. Spread flour on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until nut brown, stirring occasionally. Sift into a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, make turkey “andouille” sausage. Thoroughly combine ground turkey, 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, cayenne, liquid smoke, and 1 tbsp garlic. Form 1/2 tbsp of meat into small patties. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Brown sausage patties on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining oil to pan and heat. Cook celery, onions, peppers, and remaining garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables a little at a time, stirring between additions. Cook 2 minutes more. Slowly pour in stock while stirring. Add okra, bay leaf, and remaining Cajun seasoning. Stir in sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Skim foam from top of stew as it rises. Add shrimp and cook just long enough for shrimp to become opaque; about 5 to 10 minutes. If sodium is not an issue, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cooked white or brown rice.

Per serving: 168 calories, 25 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 79 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber, 480 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 17.2%.

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