Here’s my theory. Just because we’re eating somewhat healthy and 100% plant based doesn’t mean the food has to lack flavor. I love taking the flavors I grew up with and presenting them in brand new ways. I will admit, I didn’t grow up eating and cooking gumbo. But, one trip to Bourbon Street and I started to understand!!! So, now, I take what I did grow up eating and introduce it to my time spent in New Orleans for a wonderful treat!
Collard Green Gumbo
1 cup of Canola oil
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of diced onion
3/4 cup of diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup of diced celery
About 8 cups (sometimes a bit more) of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of gumbo file
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (there’s a vegan version out)
A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
About 3/4 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning (non-salted)
About 3/4 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
4 cups of frozen chopped collard greens
Here’s how you do it. Start by using a large pot that can withstand some heat. Heat it on the stove. When the pan is hot, add in the oil. Have the flour ready on standby. When the oil is at the point where it just starts smoking, add in the flour and stir. Stir well and you’ll need to continue to stir so nothing burns. The goal is to get the roux to a nice dark chocolate color. Once you’re there, add in the diced onion, diced bell pepper, and diced celery. Let the vegetables cook for about 5 minutes – while stirring occasionally – then, add in the vegetable stock.
At this point, reduce the heat and add in all of the other ingredients. Allow the gumbo to cook for about 30 minutes until it’s rich and thick. At this point, it’s a good time to taste it. See, here’s the deal when you’re cooking a big pot of stew like this. Some days, you’ll have to add more salt and then other days, you’ll have added enough. The only way to know is to taste it. If it needs more salt, add in a bit more of the Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning just to make sure your flavors are on point.
I served my gumbo with hot water cornbread. It was so easy to make. I just put 3 cups of cornmeal mix into a bowl. Then, I added in about 1 1/2 cups of hot water. The idea is to make it into a thick batter. Then, I heated about a half inch of Canola oil in a skillet and poured in a big spoonful. I was sure to spread it out kinda thin in the pan. Then, once it was golden brown on one side, I flipped it and cooked it on the other side until it was cooked through.