Gumbo Z’herbes (Green Gumbo)

from The New Orleans Cookbook by R. Collin
A Lenten dish, Gumbo Z’herbes was traditionally served on Good Friday. Legend had it that you would make as many friends as the number of different greens you put in the gumbo. No longer exclusively a Lenten dish, gumbo z’herbes is often prepared with meat, as in this recipe.

Greens (as many of these as are available: a minimum of 5 is adequate, 7 is ideal!)
1 bunch collard greens 1 bunch mustards
1 bunch turnip greens 1 bunch scallions
1 bunch parsley 1 bunch watercress
1 bunch spinach 1 bunch beet tops
1 bunch radish tops 1 head green cabbage
1 bunch chicory 1 bunch carrot tops
The Gumbo Base
1c. chopped onion
½ lean baked ham, cut into ½-in. cubes
½ lb. Creole (Polish, French garlic) smoked sausage,
cut into ½-in cubes (pan grill briefly and drain fat)
1 large ham bone, sawed into 3- to 4-in lengths
The Roux (you can also opt for Fiesta’s or Quality
Seafood’s “Pat’s Roux” pre-made)
½ c. vegetable oil 2/3 c flour
The Liquid and Seasonings
2 qt. plus 1/3 c. cold water 1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne 2 crushed bay leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme ½ tsp dried marjoram
2 whole cloves 6 whole allspice
Wash all the greens thoroughly, trim off any touch stem ends. Place the damp greens in a heavy 3- 4 quart saucepan, add the 1/3 cup cold water, and heat on high. When the liquid starts to boil, cover the pan tightly, reduce the heat to medium, and cook the greens for 12-15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the greens, reserving the liquid. Chop the cooked greens fine and set aside.
In a large 7- to 8-quart heavy pot or kettle, heat the oil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the flour, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat, always stirring, until a golden brown roux (the color of peanut butter) is formed. Quickly add the chopped onion, stir thoroughly, and continue browning for 5 minutes longer, still stirring. Add the ham, sausage, and the liquid from cooking the greens; mix well, then gradually stir in the chopped cooked greens. Add the ham bone and the seasonings. keeping the heat at low, gradually add the 2 quarts cold water, stirring to mix thoroughly. Raise the heat to high, bring the gumbo to a boil, then lower the heat again to low and simmer for 1 ¼ hours. Serve over boiled rice.

Many thanks to Keeshi + Photo and Twisted String for their photography contributions