Kale and Red Bean Gumbo
Authentic gumbo uses okra as a thickener. Instead of okra, you can substitute 2 Tbs. long-grain rice. Add it to the pot when you cook the vegetables.
- 6 cups chopped kale leaves
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 large green onion, white and pale green parts only, chopped
- 1 cup canned tomatoes in puree
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 can (15 oz.) red beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 fresh okra pods, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or 1 cup frozen okra
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Hot-pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
- Steamed white rice for serving
Cook the vegetables
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the kale, bell pepper, green onion, tomatoes and broth. Add the bay leaves, oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the kale is tender, about 30 minutes.
Finish the gumbo
Add the beans and okra to the vegetables. Cover and cook until the okra is just tender, about 15 minutes for fresh, 5 minutes for frozen. Season with salt, pepper and hot-pepper sauce, if using. Divide the rice among deep bowls and ladle the gumbo atop. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Vegetarian, by Dana Jacobi (Oxmoor House, 2007).