SERVES 10 - 12
This meatless gumbo, made with various greens, is a traditional Lenten dish in Louisiana's Catholic communities. Ham, sausage, or meat stock is often used in the soup at other times of the year.
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 tbsp. flour
3 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. cayenne
3 lbs. greens, such as mustard, beet, or turnip greens,
collards, kale, spinach, swiss chard, carrot tops,
or parsley, alone or in combination, cleaned and chopped
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. file powder
1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until deep golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8-10 minutes.
2. Stir 8 cups water into pot, then add Tabasco and cayenne. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Add greens and bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until greens are very soft, about 1 hour. Stir in file and adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve gumbo over boiled or steamed long-grain white rice.