Green Gumbo…since it’s still cold outside
Man! As much as we’ve been talking about spring and warmer temps around here, it’s becoming more and more obvious that Mother Nature missed the memo. Two weeks ago, I was more than ready when I rocked open toe sandals for the first time and yesterday, we saw snow flurries. I mean, they were very light and melted before they hit the ground, but still. It’s cold and I’m over it.
To try and find a brighter side of things, I decided to make one more soup for the season. Something to warm my skinny bones and get all cozy with. I thought about chili or a potato soup but wanted something a little lighter. I’m really trying to stay in March even though the weather is stuck in January. Anyway, in browsing my google reader of saved recipes, I found this recipe for green gumbo. And apparently, the timing couldn’t be more appropriate.
Green gumbo, also known as gumbo z’herbes, is usually a vegetarian dish and traditionally made on Holy Thursday in preparation for Good Friday when Catholics fast and abstain from meat. Read a little more about it here and here. It calls for a variety of greens, sometimes 5-7, from kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard green, dandelion greens, chard, parsley, etc. added to a well seasoned roux. Now, I’m not Catholic, vegetarian or abstaining from meat but with Good Friday being this week, I thought it was ironic to rediscover this recipe now and knew this was the one to try last night.
Reading the recipe can seem a little intimidating but it’s not that difficult once you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to cook. I made sure I chopped my bell pepper, onion and celery first. Then I rough chopped the greens and set aside in a large bowl. The rest of the recipe calls for patience while getting the rich color in the roux and some constant stirring to make sure it does not burn. Once you add the veggies to the roux, you have a little break but when you had the warm water to the veggie/roux mixture, you have to make sure you stir quick so the roux won’t seize and you get a smooth broth.
The finished dish is absolutely fantastic! I served it with rice and cornbread and if I do say so myself, I really put my foot in it. It was so rich and flavorful, leaving us full, warm and satisfied. So I guess as much as I still want to give Mother Nature the silent treatment for treating us this way, I guess I should thank her. Cause if she wasn’t being so stubborn, this dish would have sat in my google reader for a few more months.
Your How To: Start your prep by chopping 1 green bell pepper, 1 ½ onions, 3-4 celery stalks and set aside in a bowl. Roughly chop 1 bunch of kale, 2 bunches of lacinto kale, 2 bunches of mustard greens and 2 bags of baby spinach. Set aside in a large bowl. Also, make the Cajun spice by combining 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 Tbsp garlic powder and 2 Tbsp paprika.
Start the gumbo by making a roux. In a large pot, heat 1 cup of peanut oil or lard over medium heat for 1-2 minutes and then stir in 1 cup of flour. Whisk together so there are no lumps. Cook the roux over medium-low heat until it browns to a chocolate color. Note, the darker the roux is, the better, but as the roux darkens it can burn easily, so watch it and stir constantly. While the roux is cooking, simmer 10 cups of water in a separate pot. Back to the roux, when it is dark enough, mix in the onions, celery and green pepper and turn the heat to medium. Stir occasionally, until the vegetables soften a little. Add 4 garlic cloves and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the 2-3 bay leaves and 1 ½ tablespoon of Cajun spice. Next, while stirring constantly, add the hot water. Initially, the roux will seize, but keep stirring and it will all smooth out in a silky broth. Add 2 turkey wings and all the greens. Add salt to taste and ½ tablespoon of the Cajun spice. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat gently for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the turkey wings, remove it from the pot and chop the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot, add 1 pound of andouille sausage and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with cooked rice and a dash of file powder before serving. Enjoy!recipe adapted from simplyrecipes
Chat ya’ later