Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saints Alive!

1. Life is good. The T-P has broken out of its annual mid-summer dearth of Saints news to place the Saints on the cover now that training camp has started (and the Librarian has the best name for the beginning of camp. Can't wait to see what his prediction for the season is this year.)

2. Berto and I lost Nana this past week, but it's been an uplifting process for all of us in many ways. I should note that this is the first Saints season ever during which Nana will not be telling Berto and me, "The SAINTS? Why do you throw your money away?" I have a feeling, though, that secretly she was glad we were spending resources on something that involved camaraderie, food, and drink. And she loved hearing about our adventures on bikes through various neighborhoods and around various taverns. If nothing else, Nana is now rooting for a Black and Gold Super Bowl because it means more bike rides and taverns for all of us.

3. We have been celebrating Nana all week; one way we have been doing so is by sharing her recipe for Gumbo Z'Herbes, which was a New Year's tradition for our family (it's much more interesting than plain boiled cabbage--although there's nothing wrong with cabbage, either). Anyway, here (for all the internets to see), is one great recipe:

Gumbo Z’Herbes

6 or 8 bunches fresh spinach or 6 or 8 packs frozen (or some of each)
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of collard greens
1 bunch of turnip greens
Greens from 1 bunch of carrots (Tops)
Greens from 1 bunch of beets (Tops)
Outer leaves of lettuce – use romaine or endive or other
Outer leaves of cabbage
Leaves from top of celery
Leaves from top of radishes
Leaves from 1 bunch of broccoli
1 lb. of fresh hot sausage
1 lb. of ham seasoning or smoked sausage
2 or 3 big onions -- chopped
1 or 2 sweet peppers – chopped
2 or 3 bay leaves
A few tablespoons flour
Gumbo file
Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
Cooked rice

1. Wash the greens thoroughly. Take out the stems or tough midribs. Put the greens in a big pot with water to cover and bring to boil. When it boils, turn fire down to medium and let cook for about 15 or 20 minutes – uncovered.

2. While the greens are simmering, cook the hot sausage (in small bite-size chunks) and diced ham or smoke sausage in a large heavy skillet. When cooked, remove the meat and put on a plate. Drain off some of the grease, then add the onions and peppers. Cook until the onions and peppers are soft.

3. After the greens have cooked down, use a strainer to drain them, but retain the water (the stock) that the greens have been cooking in. Chop up the greens, either by running them briefly through a food processor or doing it by hand. Add the greens back to the large pot, and stir in the cooked onions, peppers, meat, bay leaves, and seasonings. Get the mixture nice and hot.

4. Add in stock until the texture is gumbo-like. Simmer for at least an hour. If the gumbo gets too thick, add in some more of the stock. To get the consistency that you like, mix some flour with water in a separate bowl, then add some of this paste to the gumbo. You can also add gumbo file to get the desired texture. As the gumbo cooks with the flour, you may want to add salt, pepper, or hot sauce. Be careful; the hot sausage will also add plenty of spice as well.

5. Serve in large soup bowls over rice.


Maitri said...

Sorry to hear of your loss.

Ragin' Cajun said...

Sorry about your loss!

Go Saints! I just found your blog good stuff

Brian "Mr. Glitter" Bordelon said...

Your family lost a good person, and I am thankful I was able to celebrate her passing with you and your family.