A friend looking for kale and chard recipes commented on a previous blog post of mine, and my exchange with her reminded me of Green Gumbo, which I haven't made in forever and which I quickly began to crave. Once it dawned on me that last summer's preservation endeavors meant that I had all the ingredients I needed - including the okra, chopped and frozen - I decided to make some.
The recipe I originally used for Green Gumbo is mostly just greens, okra, and Creole seasoning. Oh, and a roux. I much prefer making mine with tomatoes and corn as well. The first time I made it I botched the roux and then just left it out after that. But I tried again tonight and I think I was successful. (In as much as "successful" simply means, I didn't have to throw anything away.)
The consistency of the gumbo seemed just right to me; maybe that was from the roux. Or maybe it was the okra. Which, by the way, is where the word gumbo comes from: ngombo in West Africa is the word for okra.
6 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1-2 Tablespoons of Creole seasoning*
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper
(celery, if you've got it, to complete the Holy Trinity; but tonight, like most nights I had none)
12-16 ounces of okra, chopped
1 quart of tomatoes, with juices
1-2 cups vegetable broth (depending on how much juice there is with the tomatoes)
1 pint of corn
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
or a few splashes of liquid smoke
6-8 ounces of frozen chopped collard greens (also works with turnip greens, kale, chard, or a combination - and you can use as much as you want, depending on how green you want your gumbo - just add extra broth if needed)
Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until flour turns golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in Creole seasoning.
Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper (and celery, if using). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Stir in okra, cover, and cook. Add tomatoes, corn, broth, thyme, Worcestershire and/or liquid smoke. Cook, stirring, 10 minutes.
Add greens, stirring. Cover and cook until greens are tender, 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve gumbo over cooked white rice.
* I used a modified version of this recipe to make Creole seasoning. Modified, because I didn't have celery seed or paprika.