Sunday, January 01, 2012

Gumbo Z'Herbes: Happy New Year!

Here's my Nana's recipe for Gumbo Z'Herbes. I made it over last night and this morning.

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. Run the greens through a food processor—chop them just enough (but not too much). 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.