Leah Chase's Gumbo Z'Herbes Recipe

Photograph by David G. Spielman, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Award-winning New Orleans chef Leah Chase has spent her career sharing her Creole cuisine with people around the world, including musicians, celebrities, and presidents. Below is one of Chase's favorite recipes, excerpted from her book And Still I Cook. Sunday on 'This Week, ABC News' Susan Saulny sits down with Leah Chase to discuss her remarkable life.

Gumbo Z'Herbes

Recipe from Leah Chase


1 bunch mustard greens

1 bunch collard greens

1 bunch turnips

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch beet tops

1 bunch carrot tops

1 bunch spinach

½ head lettuce

½ head cabbage

2 medium onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped

Water (2 -3 qt.)

1 lb. smoked sausage

1 lb. smoked ham

1 lb. brisket stew meat

1 lb. boneless brisket

1 lb. hot chaurice*

5 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. thyme leaves

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. filé powder

Steamed rice

Clean all vegetables, making sure to pick out bad leaves and rinse away all grit. Place all vegetables, onions, and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 30 minutes. While this is boiling, cut all sausages and meats into bite-size pieces and set aside. Keep chaurice pieces separate. Strain vegetables after boiling and reserve liquid. Place all meats, except chaurice, and 2 cups of reserved liquid (save the rest), in a 12-qt. stockpot. Steam over high fire for 15 minutes. While steaming other meats, place the chaurice in a skillet over a high fire and steam until chaurice is rendered (all grease cooked out), about 10 minutes. Remove the chaurice and set aside, keeping the grease in the skillet. 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 over a high fire and stir in the flour. Cook this roux for 5 minutes or until floor is cooked (it does not have to brown). Pour roux over meat mixture; stir well. Add vegetables and the remaining 2 qt. reserved liquid. Let simmer over a low fire for 20 minutes. Add chaurice, thyme, salt, and cayenne; stir well. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add filé powder; stir well and remove from fire. Serve over steamed rice. Serves 8 generously. *Chaurice sausage is a fresh, highly spiced Creole sausage.

Excerpted from And Still I Cook by Leah Chase by arrangement with Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., Copyright © Leah Chase, 2003. First paperback edition 2011.

Courtesy Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

"These hands belong to a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, neighbor, friend, and New Orleans icon. They are the hands of Leah Chase. Not only have they cuddled 23 great-grandchildren, they've stirred thousands of pots of gumbo. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. had a bowlful. So have several U.S. Presidents, Thurgood Marshal, James Baldwin, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and Ray Charles. Tomorrow she'll be happy to feed you. 'I still cook,' she says. And the hands don't lie."

-Kit Wohl, from New Orleans Classic Brunches

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