Leah Chase’s Gumbo Z’Herbes


Serves 8


1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch turnips

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch beet tops

1 bunch carrot tops

½ head lettuce

½ head cabbage

1 bunch spinach

2 medium onions (chopped)

4 cloves garlic (mashed and chopped)


1 lb. smoked sausage

1 lb. smoked ham

1 lb. chaurice (hot)

1 lb. boneless brisket

5 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. thyme

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. file powder


Clean all vegetables, making sure to pick out bad leaves and rinse away all grit. In a large pot place all greens, onions, and garlic. Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. While this is boiling, cut all meats and sausages into bit-size pieces and set aside. Strain vegetables after ham, smoked sausage and 2 cups reserved liquid and steam for 15 minutes. While steaming place chaurice in skillet and steam until chaurice is rendered (all grease cooked out). Drain chaurice, keeping the grease in the skillet and set aside.


All vegetables must be pureed. This can be done in a food processor or by hand in a meat grinder. Heat the skillet of chaurice grease and stir in flour. Cook roux for 5 minutes or until flour is cooked (does not have to brown). Pour roux over meat mixture, stir well. Add vegetables and 2 quarts reserved liquid. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add chaurice, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper; stir well. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add file powder; stir well and remove from heat. Serve over steamed rice.