December 29, 2008

Healthy Meal: Gumbo Z’Herbes with Red Beans

I knew I wanted soup for lunch. I also knew I wanted to use up the rest of the collard greens in my fridge. Searching on Food Network, I found a yummy-sounding recipe from Gourmet Magazine for Gumbo Z’Herbes with Red Beans.

I had no interest in making 10-12 servings of this, so I used the recipe just as a guide for flavors while I made up my own proportions. My directions went as follows:

Boil about 4 cups of roughly collard greens in a pot of water (didn’t measure the water). In a frying pan, mix 2 tbsp olive oil and about 1/6 cup whole wheat flour. Ignore the directions to cook for 45 minutes while stirring constantly, and cook it for a few minutes until you get bored. Add 4 stalks of diced celery, 1/2 spanish onion (diced), and 1/2 green bell pepper (also diced). Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pan is fairly dry and you’re afraid the veggies will start scorching. Because you already chopped the collards, leave them in the pot and just dump in a can of red kidney beans (using canned beans means they’re a bit saltier, but you cut an hour of cooking time from using dried beans). Stir. Add a few tablespoons of pre-chopped garlic (why chop it yourself when Gristedes sells jars of it in water with no preservatives?), and stir again. Next, dump in the veggies and roux from the other pan and stir again. Finally, add a few tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, a few teaspoons of hot sauce, and some black pepper. Stir one last time and cook for about ten minutes. Makes three servings.

Nutrition stats:
293 calories per bowl (original recipe here, my modifications above)

Review: 3/5 stars
This was decent, but not amazing. The lack of spices other than pepper, garlic, hot sauce, and worcestershire sauce made it just a bit boring… though I suppose I could have kicked it up a bit with some more hot sauce. Also, it should be noted that the original recipe called for an option tablespoon of file powder. Since it was optional, I didn’t worry about having it… but then when I looked it up on Food Subs, I realized that probably would have given it more of a unique flavor. You’re supposed to serve this over rice, and I was concerned that omitting the rice would make this too light, but the soup alone was extremely filling. I only got about halfway through my bowl and I was already satiated – the beans and the veggies add a ton of fiber and the warmth of the soup also makes you feel pretty full. I’ll most likely make this again, but next time I’ll try to find some file powder to add another dimension of flavor.


5 thoughts on “Healthy Meal: Gumbo Z’Herbes with Red Beans”

  1. Cooking the roux for 45 minutes adds the flavor. Yours probably tasted a little like raw flour. I never have the patience for this and always burn it anyway so now I just buy jarred roux mix. They probably don’t sell that in New York though. Looks farily good though!

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