Gumbo-inspired Mallow and Daisy Rice

Wild Foods Challenge, Day 9

For the month of June, I’ll be taking the Wild Foods Challenge and trying to incorporate more found and foraged edible ingredients in my diet. I hope you’ll follow along!


In my last post, which featured the Mysteries of Potherbs, I ended with a question: what could we do with Common Mallow (Malva neglecta)? Since it’s in the same family as okra, I went with the obvious: gumbo!

I don’t have the time or wherewithal at the moment to do a full-stop actual gumbo dish, but the flavor combination came calling, and the thickening power of mallow turned this into one of my favorite dishes so far.

I’ve been trying to keep these recipes as easy as possible, and this was no exception. The prep is pretty simple, and I went the ‘canned’ route for the tomatoes and the ‘frozen’ route for corn. This was a slight cheat on the challenge, which says you’re not supposed to buy vegetables, but in my defense we already had these on hand. Also, I came up with the challenge, so I can look the other way….

INGREDIENTS:

  • One large bundle of mallow plants (stalks, leaves, flowers)
  • Ten ox-eye or Shasta daisy leaves and flowers
  • 2 cups chicken or pork stock (plus more as needed if liquid cooks down too much)
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • 5–6 links of your favorite sausage
  • Pinch to handful of your favorite spicy pepper (I used some lacto-fermented jalapenos)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • olive oil
  • Salal flower finishing salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
Mallow

1 Clean the mallow and remove the leaves, flowers, and flower buds from the stems. Chop all but the stems coarsely. Tie the stems together with kitchen twine.

2 In a decent sized pot, add a couple of glugs of olive oil and turn to medium. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and spices (except the bay leaf). Stir until fragrant (about five minutes).

3 Add the mallow leaves. Stir until well coated and saute for another five minutes.

4 Add the stock, tomatoes, peppers, and corn. Bring to a boil.

5 When a boil is reached, add the rice, bay leaf, and mallow stems. Stir well, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes (until rice is cooked).

The stems add additional ‘thickening power’ to the dish

6 Add the sausage, more water or stock as needed, and stir once again. Cover and let simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding mroe stock/water as needed.

7 When the sausage is cooked through, add the daisy flowers and leaves.

8 Give another stir, cover and simmer for ten more minutes.

9 Remove mallow stems, remove from heat, and serve! Add hot sauce if that’s your thing. Presentation-wise, you could top with some daisy flowers and petals and it’d look real nice. It also looks just fine all messy:

MMMMMMM……

This stuff is good. Like, make a batch and eat for lunch for days good. Like, invite friends and neighbors over to taste this amazing thing good. And it’s all thanks to a scruffy lil’ mallow plant!


Want more WILD recipes? Follow along with the Wild Food Challenge onInvironment, and don’t forget to share with your pals/click the lil’ heart!

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