Leah Chase, Carrying on in New Orleans

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Leah Chase, owner and chef of Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans, talks about rebuilding her famous restaurant and carrying on an Easter tradition — gumbo style.

Recipe for Chase's Gumbo Z'herbes

A New Orleans tradition on Holy Thursday:

1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch turnip greens

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch beet tops

1 bunch carrot tops

1/2 head of lettuce

1/2 head of cabbage

1 bunch spinach

3 cups onions, diced

1/2 cup garlic, chopped

1 1/2 gallons water

5 tablespoons flour

1 pound smoked sausage

1 pound smoked ham

1 pound hot sausage

1 pound brisket, cubed

1 pound stew meat

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1 tablespoon file powder


Clean greens under cold running water, making sure to pick out bad leaves. Rinse away any soil or grit. The greens should be washed 2 to 3 times. Chop greens coarsely and place in 12-quart pot along with onions, garlic and water. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.


Strain greens and reserve liquid. Place greens in bowl of a food processor and puree or chop in meat grinder. Pour greens into a mixing bowl, sprinkle in 5 tablespoons flour, blend and set aside.


Dice all meats into 1-inch pieces and place into the 12-quart pot. Return the reserve liquid to the pot and bring to a low boil, cover and cook 30 minutes. Add purDeed greens, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until meat is tender, approximately 1 hour. Add water if necessary to retain volume. Add file powder, stir well and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.


Serves 8 to 10 over steamed rice.


(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



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