Lemony Gumbo Z’herbes

By • March 15, 2012 • 16 Comments

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Author Notes: Gumbo Z’herbes, or green gumbo, was traditionally served during Lent as it could be made without meat. According to Emeril Lagasse in his 1996 cookbook “Louisiana, Real and Rustic,” there was a legend that for every green that was put into the gumbo, a new friend would be made during the year. I’ve seen recipes (obviously not for Lent) that included salt meat, pickled pork, bacon, and ham. We like our gumbo with andouille sausage cut into small pieces so that you get surprise bites while eating the soup. To keep the Lenten theme going, the first sauté of onions, bell pepper, and celery is known as “the holy trinity."

In the winter we use dried herbs, but the soup is really excellent with fresh herbs in the summer. Enjoy.
drbabs

Food52 Review: Well, I was going to try this recipe anyway before it was a community pick. I love gumbo and have a N’awlins dinner coming up which will include some vegetarians, so this soup is perfect. I like the lemon kick that drbabs has given it. Some advice: I would allocate about half a day to doing this right -- your love will be rewarded. Give yourself plenty of prep time for the “trinity” and the greens; Drbabs suggests an hour to three hours of cooking time, and I would go with the latter. With some of the greens like collards and kale, you really need to hammer the slime out of them. Drbabs includes file powder as “optional,” but I think it’s mandatory. Plus, it’s not difficult to find in the spice section. Put in the effort; it’s worth it!pierino

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery, preferably the innermost ribs (reserve the leaves for later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock
  • 2 pounds assorted greens: collards, turnip, beet, mustard, chard, kale, or spinach, coarsely chopped
  • All the celery leaves from your head of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (leave out if you want this to be vegetarian)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 small links smoked andouille sausage, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • Fruity olive oil, for serving
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • Cooked white or brown rice, for serving
  • Filé powder (optional)
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned. Stir in garlic and let it sweat with the other vegetables for a minute or two. Add water or stock to the Dutch oven. Raise heat until it comes to just below boiling. Add greens and celery leaves a little at a time until they are all wilted into the soup. Add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Halve and juice a lemon, and put both lemon halves into the soup. Add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, if using. Reduce heat to low and simmer soup, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. The vegetables will become mushy and the soup will be very green. This is what you’re going for. Taste and add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more Worcestershire sauce to your taste. Fish out the bay leaves and the lemon halves and discard them. Stir in the andouille sausage if using.
  2. To serve, place a scoop of rice into a bowl, pour soup over the rice, and add about a teaspoon of olive oil on the top. Sprinkle with scallions. Pass around the filé powder and hot sauce to use as desired.
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9 months ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

Made this last night for a party and it was great!! Served with red beans and rice, bluepoints on the halfshell, wine and cinnamon buns for dessert!!

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8 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, I just saw this! I'm so happy you liked it.

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about 1 year ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, I just knew it!

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about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You're sweet.

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about 1 year ago Kukla

Congratulations Barbara on the CP!! Your Gumbo sounds wonderful and what an honor for the recipe to be reviewed by Mr. Tough Love himself!

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about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Kukla! And, yes, a good review by pierino is almost as good as a win!

Stringio

about 1 year ago heather

I am embarrassed to say as a New Orleanian, I have never made Gumbo Z'herbes. Thanks for the reminder. I would recommend though to specify to the readers that the gumbo calls for smoked Andouille sausage. I know that is probably assumed by most, but fresh Andouille is available and if you added fresh right at the end as you suggest, that would be a big problem.

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about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for the correction, heather.

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about 1 year ago fearlessem

Four cups seems like so little water for that large a volume of vegetables and greens. Is the four cups correct?

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about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes--everything cooks down a lot and it does get more stew-like. You can certainly add more water if it's not soupy enough.

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over 2 years ago bpfox

Thought this was great! It turned out perfectly!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I love green gumbo! I've made Chuck Taggart's version from the Gumbo Pages, and it's surprisingly rich and delicious. Can't wait to give yours a whirl!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you for telling me about this! I'd never heard of Chuck Taggart or the Gumbo Pages! I hope you try this and that you like it!

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love this Dr B! Have never made this version of gumbo, but now it is ON the to do list!!!!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, A! I hope you enjoy it!