Green Gumbo on Holy Thursday at Dooky Chase’s is a New Orleans tradition.  

Green Gumbo is a dish prepared by the Creoles on Holy Thursday as the last big “meat” meal before Easter Sunday.  Gumbo Z’Herbes reminds my taste buds of the pot liquor resulting from slow cooking a bunch of turnip greens and ham hocks.  

Quoting from the Dooky Chase menu, “It is said, that if Gumbo Z’Herbes is eaten on this particular day it will assure the person of as many new friends as there are greens used in the gumbo.  The number of greens used must be uneven: 5-7-9 or 11.  Chef Leah Chase uses nine greens – mustards, collards, red Swiss chard, beet tops, cabbage, carrot tops, spinach, kale, and watercress.”

Dooky Chase, Sr. opened Dooky Chase’s restaurant in 1941.  In 1946, Dooky Chase, Jr. married Leah Chase who evolved into one of the greatest and most beloved New Orleans chefs. Leah Chase died in 2019 and so 2023’s Holy Thursday Green Gumbo was prepared by her grandson, Chef Edgar “Dooky” Chase, IV.  It was an absolute privilege to be the guest of Nick and Leslie at this year’s Green Gumbo dinner.  The gumbo, fried chicken and pecan pie made my taste buds happy.  The company made my heart happy.

While we’re on the subject of Leah Chase, one of my top “wish list” wants is an original Gustave Blache, III painting of the great Leah Chase.  A few years ago I saw these paintings at the New Orleans Museum of Art and I can’t forget how much I loved them.  Certainly, these paintings are two “dear” for my art budget… but, oh!  I would so love to live with one.

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