Gumbo z’Herbes

Gumbo z'Herbes

Recipe by Sarah Ward

This gumbo is lesser known throughout the country, but is an important dish to Louisiana heritage. Use just about any edible greens you have growing in your garden — we guarantee washing them all will be the hardest part of making this dish! But believe us, it’s definitely worth your effort. Delightfully earthy with a hint of spice, this gumbo is sure to fill you with warmth and satisfaction even on the coldest of days.

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs greens (use turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, carrot tops, beet tops, arugula, swiss chard, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 uncooked pork sausages (andouille, spicy, or mild)
  • 2 chicken legs (thighs and drums)
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled
  • Pinch of red chili flakes (more if desired)

Instructions:

Wash and roughly chop the greens. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté onions until they begin to caramelize. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add in the ham hock, greens, and water, and bring to a low boil. If the greens won’t all fit in the pot at first, start with a portion and continue adding them as they cook down. (It may seem like you have too many greens, but they lose a lot of volume when they cook down.) Once you’ve reach a boil, reduce the heat to medium low or low, keeping a hard simmer going, and cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Turn the heat to low and remove greens from the pot with a slotted spoon. Place them in a blender, adding a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid if needed. Pulse a few times. The goal is to break up the greens but not fully puree them. Return the blended greens to the pot and bring them to a soft simmer.

While greens continue cook, heat a skillet over medium heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and cook in the skillet to render the fat. Break up pieces with the back of a spoon or spatula while cooking. Once browned, move the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the chicken legs to the skillet and begin to brown skin. Cook on each side for 5 minutes or until it develops a nice caramel color. (Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through as it will cook later in the pot.)

Add the sausage and chicken legs to pot of greens. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for one hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Just before serving, add the shrimp and simmer for seven minutes. Serve with a spoonful of rice in the middle of each bowl and top with a sprinkling of chili flakes.

Sarah Ward is the creator of the blog of the dirt.

Featured Ingredient: Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are the leafy tops of a turnip plant. Most commonly known for their large role in Southern cuisine, turnip greens are beginning to make their way into dishes throughout the country. While turnip and collard greens are often used interchangeably in cooked dishes, turnip greens have much softer leaves, with a slightly bitter flavor. The greens are packed full of nutrients and work well either cooked or used like lettuce for salads or sandwich toppings. Turnip greens should be grown in cooler weather (spring and fall), and the leaves are sweetest when nipped by frost. Learn how easy it is to grow your own turnip greens.

Gumbo z'Herbes