The story behind this vegetarian gumbo is that it was one that became popular during Lent. It features three different types of greens - collard, turnip, and mustard that collectively contribute to its flavor. It's been a recipe that we've been wanting to try for a while and finally made the commitment to do so. We definitely enjoyed this one, and we hope that you will be intrigued enough to give it a try as well. Before I proceed to the recipe, here is a little background on the greens that are featured in the recipe.
Collards are loose leaf greens that are actually part of the same family as cabbage and broccoli. In addition to the southern United States, they grown in Brazil, Portugal, the Balkans and even Kashmir. Unlike cabbage, collards do not form a head and the individual leaves can be cut.
Each of these types of greens is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. While this recipe features all three types of greens cooked together, each can be prepared individually as well. We've found that we enjoy the blend of the distinct flavors that each type of greens brings to the cooking pot.
So, let's make some gumbo …
As a quick warning, this recipe will feed a crowd. The recipe book indicated that it would feed 20, and that's probably a fair estimation. Feel free to adjust the quantity (or not) as you see fit.
Here are the ingredients:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped yellow or sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup minced garlic
6 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp salt
1 lb mushrooms, smoked (yes, it's worth the trouble if you have a smoker)
1 gallon water
1 bunch collard greens
1 small head cabbage
1 bunch turnip greens
1 bunch mustard greens
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 lb red or kidney beans, cooked
Now, let's put this gumbo together.
1. Rinse and sort the beans and soak them overnight. Drain, cover them with water and cook until they are just tender. If it's going to be a while before you are ready to add them to the gumbo, drain them, reserving the liquid so that they don't get too mushy. Otherwise, if you are close to being ready to add them, just turn off the heat. Here's our pot of cooked beans in their water.
2. To smoke the mushrooms - Use medium sized whole mushrooms. Wash them and trim the stems a little. Place them on a pan in a smoker for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and cut them into quarters. Reserve the liquid on the pan to add to the gumbo pot. You will like the added smoky flavor.
3. Chop the onion, bell pepper, celery, and shallots so that they are ready to add once the roux has reached its desired color. Quick warning - shallots are very strong. You may wish to have an open window to help with some ventilation.
4. Chop the greens and cabbage into roughly 1-inch squares. Cover with the water and boil until tender. To be honest, I didn't measure the pieces. Just chop to what size looks right to you.
|Chopped greens getting ready to simmer|
|Chopped vegetables in the roux|
5. Now, let's make the roux. Use a large, heavy bottomed pot (we use the bottom of our pressure canner cooker). Bring the oil to a medium high heat and then stir in the flour. Stir until the roux takes on a peanut butter color.
6. Stir in the chopped vegetables. Sauté them until they are tender and are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the garlic, herbs, and salt/pepper. Your house should be smelling pretty amazing at this point. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring carefully.
7. Stir in the cooked greens and the water they were cooked in.8. Stir in the beans and their reserved liquid.
|Gumbo boiling on the stove|
10. Serve over rice.
11. Reheat the leftovers the next day and enjoy - gumbo tastes better each time it is reheated.