Southern Comfort, baby!
The star ingredient of tonight’s dinner was this big ol’ hambone. Why do we have a big hambone? There has been no obvious ham in the past days…
That’s cause that hambone used to be this frozen hambone! I am currently just avoiding my ambivalence about feedlot meat by using meat we already have in the freezer! Cause as reprehensible as factory farming is, waste is even worse. Existential crisis averted… for now (er, we have a lot of stuff in our freezer! Score)
After making our Christmas ham, we usually use the frozen hambone to make pea soup. However, Lent started early this year, so we just kept it in the deep freeze til we could have meat again. But then it was beautiful and springlike…
But THEN, I was reading about the latest 24/24/24 and saw this drool-inducing recipe for green gumbo, which utilized both an awesome meaty hambone and the beautiful fresh greens of spring. Totally sold. I then did some researching, and combining a bit of that, this, this, this and this, came up with my own recipe. OBVIOUSLY, this is one style of cooking in which one can utilize one’s own creativity :D
I knew I wanted to utilize this:
Filé is made of dried sassafras leaves. It’s used as both THE classic gumbo flavoring and also has a thickening effect. After I dumped this in my pot my house smelled like the SOUTH!
We’ve had this on our shelf for… honestly, a decade is definitely within the realm of possibility. And yes, I alphabetize my spices. Ohhhh yes!
So I started with the holy trinity:
Onion, garlic, bell pepper! Plus some parsley for extra green.
Then my herbs. Then my greens. Holy goodness, this recipe uses a TON of greens:
But fortunately they shrink!
You add the other classic element of Cajun cuisine- the roux! I was real proud of this one.
And you throw in your hammy until it is falling-off-the-bone perfection. This is exhibit A of Why I’ll Never Be a Vegetarian. There’s maybe 2 ounces of meat total in the whole pot, but man oh man does it go a long way.
Gumbo Des Herbes
2 bunches collard greens, 1/2 a bunch of kale (or your choice of mixed greens- unsurprisingly, I went for the cheapest ones)
3 sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large regular onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons filé powder
1/2 t oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
6 c water or broth (because I used the flavorful hambone, I just used water)
3 T veg oil
3 T all-purpose flour
1 meaty hambone
salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce (this is not a spicy dish at all- the hot sauce just rounds it out somehow)
Remove all thick ribs and stems from the greens. Chop and place in a big bowl of salted water (I had to do this in several batches). Drain and rinse until all the dirt is removed (my greens were HMart and were pretty pristine).
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in your biggest pot over medium-high heat. Add both onions, pepper, parsley, and garlic. Sauté until onions wilt, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add spices. Stir 3 minutes. Add greens. Toss to combine. Add 1 cup water/broth. Cover and cook until all greens are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, and set vegetables and their cooking liquid aside.
Heat remaining 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 water/broth and bring to boil, whisking often.
Return vegetables. Cook 10-15 minutes until the greens are very tender and dark. Add the veggie cooking liquid and the hambone, season lightly, then simmer for an hour. Remove the bone and take off what meat you can. Return the meat to the pot, add the hot sauce and adjust the seasoning.
The final product, with (of course) rice.
And a fork and a spoon. And water… and wine! And flowers! Ah, a proper Sunday supper.
Had a nice omelet when I got home from church today. Well, nice tasting. Ghetto looking.
With the ush.
And now I’m off to dream trippy dreams. Do other people have totally whacked-out dreams when they’re on allergy medicine?
[Later edited to add]:
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha my sister commented and said this:
You did NOT cook the ham bone while I am still at school. You did NOT. This is an absolute TRAVESTY. It is MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE. I am ashamed on YOUR BEHALF!
Finkle, there is still a large bag of ham left in the deep freeze. It's all yours.
And I'll save you the last serving of gumbo!