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Gumbo Z'herbes

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lard or shortening
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound ham, diced
  • 2 pounds mixed greens (1/2 pound each spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and cabbage leaves)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cayenne and salt
  • Pinch ground thyme
  • Up to 1/4 cup file powder
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish


  • Heat lard in a large soup pot, add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ham and cook for 2 minutes. Add greens, a handful at a time, stirring them into fat until wilted before adding next bunch. Add stock, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, cayenne and thyme . Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Taste for seasoning -- greens should be tender and slightly spicy; add enough salt to enhance flavors. To thicken, have gumbo bubbling gently and stir in 1 tablespoon filé powder to start; add filé a little at a time until thickened; simmer 3 minutes more. Serve with steamed rice and green onions.