Gumbo Z'herbes

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

1 ham hock, about 2 pounds, with several 1/2-inch slits cut into it

2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 assorted bunches of greens, such as spinach, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, chicory, beet tops, carrot tops, or radish tops, washed, rinsed and chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 small green cabbage, chopped

2 quarts chicken broth or 2 quarts water

Salt and pepper

File powder

Cooked white rice for serving with gumbo


  1. In a stockpot or large saucepan, heat the bacon fat. Add the ham hock and onions and cook for 10 minutes, until onions are softened and slits in ham hock have begun to open up. Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped greens, parsley, green onions and cabbage and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until greens are wilted. Add broth or water and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, skim surface, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, until greens are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and add file, to taste, just before serving in large bowls over hot white rice. (Do not allow gumbo to boil after adding the file.)