Black History Month recipe a day: green gumbo

February 7, 2024

If you find yourself in New Orleans the Thursday before Easter, you better make your way to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. On Holy Thursday, everyone — from politicians to working musicians to regular folks ― lines up for a bowl of green gumbo, the color of a swamp and always made with an odd number of greens.

Until she died in 2019 at the age of 96, the chef and civil rights legend Leah Chase was the queen of the day. Even as she edged close to 100, Chase still insisted that she was in charge of her kitchen.

Legendary Creole chef, activist and art collector Leah Chase as featured in the 1978 cookbook

Leah Chase’s green gumbo

Although green gumbo is traditionally served during Lent, it is delicious all year and offers a great way to use greens from the farmers market.

Serves: 8


  • 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 lettuce
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped
  • Water
  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 pound smoked ham
  • 1 pound spicy chaurice sausage (can substitute fresh Portuguese linguiça)
  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 pound boneless brisket
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder (optional)


Wash and clean vegetable well, since greens can often have grit or dirt. Discard any bad leaves. Put all the greens along with the onion and garlic in a large pot, cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve boiling liquid.

Cut meats and sausage into bite-sized chunks while the greens boil.

Fill a large stockpot with 2 cups of the reserved boiling liquid and the smoked sausage, ham, stew meat and brisket meat. Steam for 15 minutes.

Put chaurice in a pan over medium heat and cook until the fat has rendered out of the sausage. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside.

Puree the vegetables in a food processor. Warm the rendered fat from the chaurice, add flour and cook for 5 minutes while stirring to make a roux. Add roux to the stock pot with meats and stir to combine. Add puréed vegetables and 2 quarts of reserved liquid that was used to boil the vegetables. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add cooked chaurice, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 40

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