Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gumbo Z'herbes

I have been experimenting with this method for some time now and I think simplest is best. Gumbo Z'herbes is a green gumbo made during lent. What I like best is how healthy you feel eating it. The one I made on Sunday had a virtual cornucopia of greens and very little fat. I use a half of one of those big kosher vegetable bouillon cubes to add umami and depth of flavor.

Gumbo Z'herbes

The trinity that is not a trinity;

2 onions, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup or so celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

The rest of the stuff;

2 tablespoons (Wesson) oil
1 small or 1/2 large bouillon cube
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other vinegary hot sauce
a pinch or more of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
greens, roughly chopped - Emeril says choose at least 5 kinds, Saveur's recipe calls for one bunch of a different type for each guest. I saw one recipe for a giant batch that listed every kind of green there is. I avoid chard as the gumbo can get really earthy in a cloying way.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high heat and add the trinity.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown.

Add water, I go half way up the pot, the bouillon cube, bay leaves, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil and add the greens in batches as they wilt.

Return to a boil and reduce heat. Cook at a good simmer for an hour or so, the greens should be really cooked down. I taste for seasoning several times during the cooking.

Serve over plain rice and enjoy!


Edit: After years of weekends trying to nail this thing I realized that this is a soup that has to age. If it is made for a Friday Lenten meal for example, you'll want to make it on Tuesday and let the flavors mingle for a few days. It really takes that "I'm eating mashed up weeds from the backyard" edge off. More Tabasco is always a plus too!

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