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Gumbo Z'herbes (Green Gumbo)


Courtesy of Tecolote Farm Adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook

Use as many greens as available, but a minimum of five is adequate. Seven is ideal!

Fiesta’s or Quality Seafood’s “Pat’s Roux” pre-made can substitute the roux in the recipe.


Gumbo Z'herbes (Green Gumbo)


For 1 Batch(es)


  • The Greens:
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 6 whole cloves allspice
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 bunch radish tops
  • 1 bunch chicory
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 bunch carrot tops
  • 1 small head green cabbage
  • 1 bunch beet tops
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • The Roux:
  • 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • The Gumbo Base:
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 pounds lean baked ham, cut into ½” cubes
  • 1/2 pounds Creole smoked sausage (or Polish, French garlic or other sausage), cut into ½” cubes (pan grill briefly and drain fat)
  • 1 large ham bone, sawed into 3” – 4” lengths
  • The Liquid and Seasonings:
  • 8 1/3 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 whole cloves

Gumbo Z'herbes (Green Gumbo) Directions

  1. Wash the greens thoroughly, and trim off any tough stem ends. Place the damp greens in a heavy 3–4 quart saucepan, add the ? cup cold water and heat on high.
  2. When the liquid begins to boil, cover the pan tightly, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 12–15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the greens, reserving the liquid. Chop the cooked greens finely and set aside.
  3. In a large 7–8 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 (the color of peanut butter).
  4. Quickly add the chopped onion and continue browning 5 minutes longer, still stirring. Add the ham, sausage and cooking liquid from 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, lower the heat again to low, and simmer for 1¼ hours. Serve over rice.
  5. A Lenten dish, Gumbo Z’herbes was traditionally served on Good Friday. Legend has 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.

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