’08 Advent Calendar, Day 19

Though 8-12 inches of snow in the forecast isn’t exactly what we meant by “gumbo weather” in Louisiana, I can’t imagine more perfect conditions for it. This was a meated-up version of the traditional Lenten creole dish, gumbo z’herbes. It’s a little out of season, but I figure that since Easter naturally follows Christmas, I should get cut some slack on the gumbo front.

Mmm…c’est bon!

For the 2007 Advent Calendar, click here.

recipe after the jump

Gumbo Z’herbes

When served on Good Friday, this gumbo is meatless, garnering its flavor from the sheer number of greens used. Basically, I scoured the grocery store and picked up whatever I could find — carrot tops, mustard greens, spinach, celery tops, green onion tops, beet greens, cabbage, etc. Dandelion greens are a great treat when you’re making this in spring.

1 large chicken, cut up
1/2 pound smoked sausage
1/2 pound andouille
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 ribs celery, chopped
chopped greens, as many types as you can find, and as many as your pot can hold
1 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 heaping tablespoon chicken base
Cajun seasoning, to taste
cooked long grain rice
hot sauce
filé (ground sassafras leaves)

In 8-quart pot, simmer chicken in water to cover by 2 inches. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, skimming any scum that floats to the top. Remove chicken to cool; strain and reserve broth, keeping warm in another pot on stove. Skin and debone chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Cut sausage and andouille in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces. Fry sausages in large pan to degrease before adding to gumbo. Drain on paper towels.

Heat oil in 12-quart pot over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add flour and stir constantly to prevent burning. Cook until deep brown (darker than peanut butter, lighter than mahogany). Add chopped onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

Add hot chicken broth to pot, stirring to prevent lumps. Add chicken base and additional water to raise level of water to 3/4 of the pot. Add chopped greens and about 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Add reserved chicken, sausage, and andouille; simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Skim as much grease from the top of gumbo as possible, or if you’d prefer, cool to room temperature, refrigerate overnight, then skim grease the following day. Like most soups, gumbo always tastes better the next day, anyway.

Serve over hot long grain rice with hot sauce and a pinch of filé. Warm potato salad on the side is a real treat.

  1. Mmmm – I have to admit it’s the warm potato salad on the side that’s drawing my eye at the moment…

  2. Hi guys, I’ve gotta say, it’s a great combination. I’m really looking forward to the seafood gumbo we’ll have Christmas day. Mmmm…