The mother-in-law is visiting this week. Since she likes gardening and farmer's markets, and I like soup, I pulled out a recipe for Green Herb Gumbo, supposedly a traditional Cajun/Creole dish made after Lent, though I have no such memory from my Louisiana days nor would I have eaten it as a child being full of healthy green vegetables. It's a big stew with ham and a bunch of different greens. So Saturday morning we went to the Farmer's Market and found the best greens we could find, whether or not they exactly matched the recipe. Here we have the resulting menagerie:
Let's see if I can name them all. Starting from the left and going clockwise, we have: green onions, Ewa sweet onion (a local variety from Ewa on the southwest side of Oahu), ta tsoi? (it's very much like baby spinach), celery, green onions again, Chinese chives, half a green cabbage, parsley, Swiss chard, curry leaves (used like a bay leaf from South and SE Asia, fresh oregano, choi sum, and a green bell pepper. There's also a few spices and some guinea pig food in the back. I put grass pellets in everything I cook now. You?
Almost everything you see here ends up in the soup. It all boils down. The cabbage in particular was at the top of the pan before cooking down. A couple exceptions are only one onion and only two stalks of celery were used. And not all the green onions. So, next up, you have a chopping party. Here you can see everything chopped and in bowls. I've added the lb of ham as well.
After this, you heat up 2-3 TBs of oil in the pot. I used bacon grease that I'd saved from earlier breakfasts. In theory, it's for cornbread but I never seem to actually make cornbread. Add ham, onions, thyme, and parsley to the pot. I think it was sauteeing up the fresh oregano, but I swear this was one of the best smelling things, at this point, that I've ever had in my kitchen. The stock and greens get rid of this yummy smell though. Fry it up for about 5 minutes.
Next, add in the bell pepper and celery and fry for about two minutes more. Then add the cabbage and stock. The recipe that I had called for water or a light stock. Another recipe online called for all chicken stock. I ended up with about 3 cups of chicken broth from Costco, two cups of homemade vegetable stock that I had made once and bagged in the freezer, and 4 cups of water. Bring the cabbage and all the other ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or so.
Next, add in the chard and choi sum and boil for just a couple minutes. Add in the ta tsoi (spinach), parsley, chives, and green onion and boil for a few minutes more. Add in spices. I used salt, pepper, more oregano and thyme, garlic powder, and paprika. I added some and then when it was a bit bland added more.
That's it! Complete one pot dish and it actually came out pretty well. Gives you a reason to eat greens you might never eat otherwise, such as chard. We had it Saturday night and then again tonight, Monday. Still good. We don't know exactly how much it cost, but we are thinking it's about $3 a head and makes 8-10 servings. It's a logical after Easter dish. You use up your left over Easter ham and then grab this and that Spring greens to throw in. You do not need the exact vegies I used. Basically, we replaced watercress and spinach with choi sum and ta tsoi, but you need not. Supposedly, a variety is key to the dish, but the variety can be tailored to your area.