Okra Gumbo Z’Herbes
Lesson time 10:08 min
Mashama introduces you to the importance of gumbo and to Leah Chase, who popularized this preparation in New Orleans during Lent. She then demonstrates how the dish is cooked, including her methods of making a dark gumbo roux and charring okra.
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Topics include: Dark Roux · Charring the Okra · Plating
[UPBEAT MUSIC] MASHAMA BAILEY: We've been talking a lot about rouxs and sauces. We cannot leave the South without talking about a very quintessential dish called gumbo. There are so many types of gumbo. You can make a gumbo with just about-- out of anything. But the gumbo we're going to make right now is going to be a Gumbo Z'Herbs, which I really love saying, and I just really love the history behind it. Gumbo Z'Herbes really became popular from a Creole chef in New Orleans called Leah Chase. She would make this gumbo during Lent, and it's full of spring greens. It has cabbage in it. It has bok choy. It has dandelion greens. It also has kale. And the funny part is that it's basically a green gumbo, but it has meat in it. So it usually has, like, pork stock in it or pieces of pork and chicken stock. So we're going to mimic that gumbo today. [UPBEAT MUSIC] It starts out with a dark roux. So with this technique, you already know what to do. You're starting out with melted butter. You're adding flour, and you're stirring to incorporate. As the butter and flour cook together, it starts to color, and the color adds flavor. So the darker your roux, the deeper the flavor. When you make a gumbo, really, you want to take your time and really get a milk chocolate consistency. You should be careful because once it starts to get dark, it goes a little faster. So you want to pay attention here, and you want to make sure that you don't burn it. There's a difference between a burnt roux and a dark roux. And you want to back right up against that line and get a very dark roux. So we're going to add some onion. Going to coat that with our roux, our bell pepper, and our celery. This is our holy trinity. I'm going to coat all those vegetables. And our variation to this holy trinity is going to be some shallots. I'm adding shallots here because I like them and also because they add a little sweetness. We are going to love that toast for a little bit and all kind of come together. Once you start to add your trinity to the roux, you really stop the coloring of the roux. So sometimes, we like to add the vegetables a little too early, which will give us a lighter gumbo. Take your time so you really get that complex flavor that a gumbo has. Really, the secret to the gumbo is the roux. Now that my vegetables are nice and covered with roux and everything's cooking down, I'm going to add in some chicken stock. I just believe that okra-- well, okra and gumbo are one and the same, really. In certain parts of the world, gumbo is okra, so you really can't have gumbo without it. Once it comes back up to a boil, we'll start layering in our greens. Going to add my sachet, which has bay leaf, peppercorns, and allspice. The sachet will infuse those flavors in the gumbo and really deepen the flavor. [UPBEAT MUSIC] I really do love okra. I love okra fried. I love it stewed. And recently, I've been really experimenting with c...
About the Instructor
Through her award-winning Savannah restaurant, The Grey, Chef Mashama Bailey has brought worldwide acclaim to the rich, layered traditions of African American Southern cooking. Now the James Beard Award–winning chef shows you traditional and reimagined techniques and recipes for nutritious, flavorful Southern dishes. From pork shank and collard greens to gumbo and grits, explore a world of history, texture, and taste.
Featured Masterclass Instructor
James Beard Award–winning chef Mashama Bailey teaches you techniques and recipes for nutritious, flavorful Southern dishes—from grits to gumbo.Explore the Class