Monday, September 05, 2011

Mama Mulate's Green Gumbo - a weekend recipe

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There are as many varieties of gumbo in New Orleans as there are streets with French names. One variety, Green Gumbo, or Gumbo Z’herbs, is little-known and generally found only in New Orleans. Catholic’s often serve this meatless gumbo (although meat may be added) on Good Friday. Superstition has it that a new friend will be made for every different green leafy vegetable used in the gumbo. Mama, a naturally suspicious person, always uses seven different types of greens. Here is her special recipe for Green Gumbo.


• 3 pounds leaves of (choose your own seven greens) collard, cabbage, radish, turnips, mustard, spinach, watercress, parsley and green onion, equal portions, chopped very fine
• 1 onion, white, large, chopped
• ½ red pepper pod
• ½ tsp. black pepper
• 1 bay leaf, finely chopped
• 1 sprig thyme, finely chopped
• 1 sprig parsley, finely chopped
• 1 sprig sweet marjoram, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic
• ¼ tsp. allspice, ground fine
• ½ tsp. cayenne
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• ½ cup flour, all-purpose
• boiled rice


Wash the leaves thoroughly then remove coarse midribs. Pat dry. Put greens in a large pot with enough water to cover. Add black pepper. Boil for about 2 hours, strain and then chop very fine. Save the water in which they were boiled. Combine cooking oil and flour over medium heat in a heavy pot or Dutch oven.

When hot, add chopped onion and chopped sprig of parsley. Stir until roux reaches a rich peanut brown, and then add the chopped greens. When the leaves become brown, pour contents into the water in which the leaves were boiled. Throw in the bay leaf, thyme, sweet marjoram, red pepper pod, clove of garlic and allspice. Stir slowly. Place pot over low flame and simmer, partially covered for about 2 more hours, adding cayenne during the process. Serve with rice and French bread. Enjoy.


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