[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

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Editor's note: Each Saturday morning we bring you a Sunday Brunch recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.

When suffering through the after-effects of a late night on the town nothing quite sets me straight like a bowl of gumbo. When served the traditional way (with white rice) it satisfies all my hangover needs; carbs, heat, salt and fat. Some may be tempted to skip the somewhat tedious step of making a dark roux; I advise against this. The time and energy spent lovingly stirring the flour/oil mixture is essential to gumbo, and in my mind is part of the magic that can turn a rough morning around.

Beginning this recipe using a good quality andouille sausage can add a lot of flavor, but when it's a gumbo emergency, I've been known to substitute other kinds of hot pork sausage. In this recipe the okra is used to thicken and add body to the final product, breaking down as the gumbo simmers and reduces. If you live in a part of the world where okra isn't plentiful in December take a look in the freezer section of your grocery store; cut okra can often be found next to the other pre-cut frozen vegetables. A bowl of gumbo, some white rice, a bottle of your favorite vinegar based hot sauce, a few sliced
scallions and some hair of the dog and you'll have a bounce back in your step in no time.

About the author: Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass. Find more information at www.sydneyoland.com (or read www.eatingnosetotail.com)

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