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Gumbo Z'Herbes With Perfect Rice


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  • 11 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 4 cups cubed (1/2") smoked ham - (abt 22 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons butter - (1/4 stick)
  • 6 cups sliced leeks white and pale
  • green parts only
  • 2 cups finely-chopped celery
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 5 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons filé powder*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 cups sliced collard greens - (abt 6 oz)
  • 8 cups sliced mustard greens - (abt 6 oz)
  • 1 large bunch watercress thick stems
  • trimmed - (abt 4 cups)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 cups low-salt chicken broth divided
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Perfect Rice (see recipe)


Servings 10


Step 1

* A powder made from ground sassafras leaves; available in the spice section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy extra-large pot over medium-high heat. Add ham; sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl and reserve.

Melt butter in same large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and celery. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add green onions, parsley, and garlic. Sauté until onions wilt, about 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add filé powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir 3 minutes. Add collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, spinach, and sugar. Toss to combine. Add 2 cups broth. Cover and cook until all greens are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

Working in batches of 2 cups, puree greens in processor, scraping down sides occasionally. Transfer puree to bowl.

Heat 10 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Cook until roux is peanut butter color, whisking often, about 7 minutes. Whisk in remaining 8 cups broth and bring to boil, whisking often. Add greens puree, then ham. Simmer gumbo 10 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

Mound 1/4 cup warm rice in center of each bowl. Ladle gumbo around rice.

This recipe yields 10 servings.

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