Saturday, April 2, 2011

Green Gumbo

While reorganizing the home office I came across an older cookbook "Vegetarian Recipes" by Better Homes and Gardens from 1993 (I realize it isn't that old, but at almost 20 years it certainly isn't on the cutting edge of veg cuisine. I opened it to a random page and saw the recipe for "Green Gumbo" and my first thought was - yeah, I'm going to make that. This is green (as you can see in the picture). Really green. So you'll be getting some calcium, iron and other good things all packed into one bowl of yummy. I did modify the recipe (as often happens) as I felt it needed a couple of things. So what follows is the recipe for the dish I made based upon their original recipe.

1 package of chopped frozen spinach
1 bag of watercress (I thought this was some English thing, I was surprised to find that I could buy it here) chopped roughly
2 medium onions largely diced
5 cloves of garlic finely diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 yellow bell pepper largely diced (the recipe called for a green one, but I didn't want that strong a flavor)
1/2 package of fake bacon chopped into small pieces
2 heads of broccoli chopped into small florets 2 parsnips peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 can small white beans rinsed and drained
2 cups or more of rice (I used freshly cooked jasmine)

In a large pot combine the spinach and watercress and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, break the spinach up and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the greens pressing the liquid out of them. Reserve the liquid. Set the liquid and the greens both aside.

While that is cooking in a small fry pan cook the bacon pieces and remove from heat.

In the same pot as the greens were cooked, stir together the flour and the oil until smooth. Cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes stirring constantly with a whisk.

Reduce to medium heat, stirring until the flour/oil turns to a reddish brown.

Add the onions, pepper, and celery. Cook and stirl over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until tender.

At this point I added another 1/2 cup or so of water to help it avoid burning. Add enough water to the reserved liquid to make 2 1/2 cups. Add the liquid, reserved greens, salt, red pepper, cajun seasoning and black pepper to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the broccoli, bacon, and parsnips. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add additional water if it seems too thick. Stir in the beans until heated.

Ladle gumbo over a serving of rice.

This had a sweet flavor to it. Consider adding more cajun seasoning or cayenne if you are looking for a little more kick.

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