Friday, April 29, 2011

Gumbo Des Herbes - Gumbo Z'Herbs

Leah Chase and DeAnne Pearson at Leah’s restaurant, Dooky Chase.

Although there are many versions of this recipe, I feel that my friend, Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, has the best recipe in the world for this dish. Leah, the "Queen of Creole Cooking", serves this famous dish each Holy Thursday at her restaurant on Orleans Avenue in downtown New Orleans. She also serves it at home on Christmas Eve. She was so tickled that both my birthday and my son's birthday fall on that day and gave a hearty laugh as she went into great detail sharing her own recipe with me 2 years ago. She said, "Baptize with water if necessary to increase volume," as people trickle in or you have unexpected guests on Christmas Eve. Leah is the inspiration for Disney's The Princess and the Frog, a James Beard Award Winner for philanthropy, an inspiration to her community that was devastated during hurricane Katrina, and an inspiration to me, personally. I hope you enjoy the Gumbo!

You may use any number of fresh greens, but here are some typical choices.

SERVES: 8 to 10

1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch turnips
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch beet tops
1 bunch carrot tops
1/2 head lettuce
1/2 head cabbage
1 bunch spinach
3 cups onions, diced
1/2 cup garlic, chopped
1 1/2 gallons water
5 TBS flour
5 TBS Oil
1 pound smoked Boudin sausage , cooked and sliced.
1 tsp thyme leaves
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1 tbsp filé powder

Clean all greens under cold running water, making sure to pick out bad leaves. Rinse away any soil or grit. The greens should be washed 2 to 3 times. Make Roux with Oil and Flour. Chop greens coarsely and place in 12-quart pot along with onions, garlic and water. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Slice sausage into 1-inch pieces and place into the 12-quart pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer another 30 minutes or until the greens are tender.

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