Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vegetable Gumbo with Mustard Greens

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If there is one advice that I can give to newbie vegetarians or carnivores who need more veggies in their diet, I would say: "keep it interesting." I like to cook different styles of food, experiment with new ingredients, make a vegetarian version of a classic dish. For example, a couple of days ago, I made Indian food with curry leaves and mustard seeds -- two ingredients that I have never used before. Yesterday, I made a vegetable gumbo with mustard greens, which is another unfamiliar ingredient. The variety keeps me interested and excited about vegetables. Otherwise, I'd probably be eating the Baconator for dinner. Every night. Mmm... bacon.

The inspiration for this gumbo came from Friday Delights. You can find the original recipe here. I took the idea of a vegetable gumbo and made my version of it. You'll need:
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 bunch of mustard greens, ribs removed and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 15-ounce can of red kidney beans
  • 1 22-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/2 of an 8-ounce can) of tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley (optional garnish)
In a large pot filled with water, boil mustard greens until softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook flour and olive oil together in a Dutch oven over medium low heat. Whisk constantly until the roux turns dark chocolate brown. Stir in onion, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, Bay leaf, jalapeno pepper, oregano. Stir and cook for another minute. Add tomato sauce, diced tomato, kidney beans, cooked mustard greens and 1 cup of the mustard greens cooking liquid. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley. Serve with white rice on top.

The one thing that I will do differently next time is to add some okra. I was kicking myself for not thinking of it earlier, but okra would be a great addition to this dish. Even without the okra, this is a delicious and hearty dish. Yay for trying new things!

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