Spring Gumbo

1/2 cup bacon drippings or other type of lard
1/2 cup flour
1 cup
spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup dried peppers
1/2 cup chopped fennel
2 bulbs spring garlic
2 ea bay leaves
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 ham hock
5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ pounds assorted greens*
½ pound
smoked andouille sausage

*kale, collards, spinach, and beet greens are all good options

  1. Start by making a roux (thickens gumbo):  Heat lard (or sub butter) over medium heat for a minute or two and then stir in the flour. Mix so there are no lumps.  Cook until light brown.  The more color your roux has the more flavor it will lend to your gumbo.
  2. Heat Stock: Bring chicken stock to a simmer.
  3. Add onions, fennel, dried peppers, then garlic to roux: When the roux is dark enough, mix in the chopped onions, fennel and dried peppers and turn the heat to medium. Let this cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften. Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaves, spice, hot stock: Add the bay leaves, the Cajun spice and slowly stir in the stock. 
  5. Add ham hock, greens, cover and simmer: Add the ham hock and all the greens. Taste for salt and spice.  Cover the pot and simmer gently for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. Remove meat from ham hock bones, chop and return to pot: Check the ham hock. If the meat is falling off the bone, remove it, discard the bones, chop the meat and return it to the pot. If the hock is not ready, keep simmering the gumbo; ham hocks don't always cook at the same rate.
  7. Add andouille sausage: Once the hock is ready, add the andouille sausage and cook for another 15 minutes.