Maundy (or "Holy") Thursday falls on March 29, and fans of Dooky Chase's Restaurant know that means it's time for chef Leah Chase to cook up some gumbo z'herbes, or "green gumbo." The dish gets its grassy hue from several kinds of leafy greens. Traditionally, gumbo z'herbes is served on Maundy Thursday because it's the last big meal before the fasting required leading up to Easter Sunday.
(Courtesy of Poppy Tooker)
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch turnip greens
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch beet tops
1 bunch carrot tops
1 bunch spinach
1/2 head lettuce
1/2 head cabbage
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped and mashed
1 pound chaurice (or any quality pork sausage)
1 pound smoked ham or two ham shanks
1 pound boneless brisket
1 pound hot pork sausage
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon file powder
Steamed rice for serving
Wash and clean all greens with cold water, discarding any bad leaves. Roughly chop all greens into 1/2-inch pieces. Put all greens, onion and garlic into an 8-quart stock pot, cover with water and boil over high heat for 30 minutes.
Boil the smoked ham (or ham shanks) in water until tender. Remove from pot, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Discard water.
Strain greens, but retain broth. Puree vegetables in a food processor.
In a 12-quart stock pot, cook all meats (except the sausage) in 2 cups of reserved vegetable broth over high heat for 15 minutes. Saute sausage over high heat in a skillet for 10 minutes, or until all fat is rendered. Remove sausage from pan and retain fat.
Heat the rendered fat and gradually stir in flour to make a white roux. Stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until the flour and fat are well combined. Add roux to stockpot containing boiled meats and stir well. Then add pureed vegetables and 2 quarts of reserved vegetable broth, stir and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Add sausage, thyme, salt and cayenne, and let simmer 40 minutes more.
Add file powder, stir well and remove from heat. Serve over rice.