Green Gumbo

A recipe taken from America: The Cookbook
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Green Gumbo
Green Gumbo

What was once a meat-free dish served during Lent is now a flavorful year-round riff that can include pork, poultry, and seafood. The gumbo gets its name from seven different types of leafy greens—for good luck—that are slow-cooked to melting tenderness. You can take your pick among collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, watercress, carrot tops, beet (beetroot) greens, radish tops, flat-leaf parsley, arugula, chicory, sorrel, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, or pepper grass (an indigenous Louisiana green, used in Creole cooking).

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

3 lb (1.4 kg) greens
Kosher (coarse) salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) peanut (groundnut) oil
1/2 cup (65 g) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large poblano pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups (710 ml) vegetable stock
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup (50 g) thinly sliced scallions (spring onions)
Freshly cooked white rice, for serving

Method

Rinse and trim the greens, removing any tough stems or thick center ribs. Soak or rinse the greens well to clean. Tear the greens into 3-inch (7.5 cm) pieces and place in a large Dutch oven (casserole) or pot. Add 2 cups (475 ml) water and season with 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 25–30 minutes. Add water by the 1/4 cup (60 ml), if needed, to keep the greens moist.

Reserving the cooking liquid, drain the greens. When they are cool enough to handle, roughly chop the greens. Measure out 1 cup (240 ml) of the greens and transfer to a blender with ¼ cup (60 ml) the reserved cooking liquid. Purée until smooth. Set the chopped greens, puréed greens, and cooking liquid aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven (casserole) or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the oil, then whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until the roux is medium brown, 15–20 minutes. Add the onion, poblano, and celery. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 8–10 minutes.

Whisk in 1 cup (240 ml) of the reserved cooking liquid and the vegetable stock. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, oregano, and bay leaves and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the chopped and puréed greens and simmer for 10 minutes to meld the flavors. Season with additional salt as desired. Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with the scallions (spring onions).

BUY AMERICA: THE COOKBOOK

With 800 home-cooking recipes, America: The Cookbook is a celebration of the remarkable diversity of American food and food culture state by state. Features 50 essays and menus from a 'who's who' of 100 foremost food experts and chefs.

America: The Cookbook is the first book to document comprehensively – and celebrate – the remarkable diversity of American cuisine and food culture. A thoroughly researched compendium of 800 home-cooking recipes for delicious and authentic American dishes, America: The Cookbook explores the country's myriad traditions and influences, regional favourites and melting-pot fusion – the culinary heritage of a nation, from appetizers to desserts and beyond. A unique state-by-state section features essays and menus from a 'who's who' of 100 foremost food experts and chefs.