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Day 3…Gumbo Z’ Herbes or “Green Gumbo”

Another Saturday morning and the farmer’s market!  It’s a great day when I can take my time getting up, drink a cup of coffee, throw on some old clothes, just run a brush through my hair (to get rid of the “Rod Stewart look”)  and always putting on some lipstick!  Oh, yes, and wear your sunglasses…no makeup?  Wear sunglasses!

As soon as I get out of my car – I hawk-eye the large assortment of beautiful dark leafy greens at Market Basket Youngsville’s booth www.marketbasketyoungsville.com! That’s all it took for me to decide on the gumbo for Day 3: Gumbo Z’ Herbes…perfect! I buy one bunch of each type of green and 2 bags of the most perfect young white turnips.

As I walk off and go on to my car, I am sooo happy with my morning goods…            Of course, I had to make my regular stop by Gotreaux Family Farm’s booth www.gofamilyfarms.com  and get fresh eggs, beautiful baby eggplants, purple baby bell peppers, ground lamb, chicken livers and one of their wonderful whole chickens!

Now, about Gumbo Z’Herbes….

A very different old gumbo that is made with leafy green vegetables, traditionally, on Good Friday – when Catholics abstain from eating meat.  In the many variations of this gumbo, some use ham hocks, pickled or salted pork.  There is a superstition that you need to use seven different greens, to bring good luck, and meet seven new people during that day.

This was not a gumbo that I was brought up eating or cooking.  In fact, I don’t ever remember my mother or grandmother making it…but it is delicious!


1 bunch finely chopped spinach leaves

1 bunch finely chopped mustard greens

1 bunch finely chopped beet greens

1 bunch finely chopped mustard greens

1 bunch finely chopped kale

1 bunch finely turnip greens

1 bunch finely chopped beet greens

3 tbsp canola oil

1 bouquet garni (4 springs parsley, 4 springs thyme, 2 sage leaves tied together with kitchen twine

1 leek, chopped

2 bay leaves

12 cups water or chicken stock

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 smoked ham hocks

1 quart fresh oysters

8 white young turnips, chopped into small pieces

8 drops of tabasco sauce


Bring water/stock to a boil, in a large heavy pot

In a separate pot, heat oil and brown ham hocks

Add leeks, garlic, onions, bell pepper and celery into pot with ham hocks and cook until soft and onions are transluscent- pour all into boiling stock

Add chopped greens, bay leaves and bouquet garni to stock and cook on medium/high heat for 1 1/2 hours

Stir in turnips, salt, pepper and tabasco – continue to cook for approximately 30 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Add oysters and cook for 5 additional minutes

Serve with fresh cornbread muffins…

Day 3 complete!  A gumbo that works for green lovers only, though…and I happen to be one of them – Gumbo Z’ Herbes, wonderful! Guess this food works for me…..