Gumbo is a terrific way to make use of your leftover turkey, right down to the carcass. Roasting the carcass and creating homemade stock are time-intensive endeavors, but both will up the delicious factor of your gumbo significantly.
I already had a large amount of homemade chicken stock in the freezer, so I opted to use it along with my roasted turkey carcass stock. You could use water for the remaining liquid if you have no extra stock. You'll end up with a less intense gumbo, though.
I advise making this a day in advance to let the flavors marry, and so you'll have an easier time skimming the fat from the gumbo. Please don't skip the skimming step -- greasy gumbo is icky. Trust me.
Before we get started with our adventures in gumbo and wasting-not-and-wanting-not, here are a few important notes:
- The proper cooking vessel for gumbo -- Never use a non-stick pot. You just won't get the proper flavor from the gumbo. Instead, use a well-seasoned cast iron pot, an enamel coated pot (like Le Crueset), or a heavy-bottomed stock pot. Just make sure it isn't coated with non-stick coating, for goodness sake! :)
- Use of oil in gumbo roux -- There are different kinds of roux--blond, light brown, dark brown. Butter vs. oil vs. rendered fat. I make roux for gumbos with oil. I just do. That's the way it was done by my mom and by her mom before her. When making roux for sauces, I use butter. But this ain't no sauce!
- Great gumbo takes time -- Gumbo ALWAYS tastes better after a day in the fridge.
- Boiled eggs -- Boiled eggs are a traditional and lovely addition to gumbo. Boil up some eggs, then float them (unpeeled) in the gumbo. Serve each guest an egg in a saucer alongside his bowl of gumbo. Then, each person peels his egg, then slips it into his bowl of gumbo, taking a bite of egg along with gumbo and rice.
- Cajun potato salad -- Instead of a boiled egg, float a scoop of this mighty fine mashed potato and egg salad in your bowl of gumbo. It's a Cajun delight!
- Additional turkey -- I added additional turkey leftovers to the gumbo near the end of the cooking time. The turkey was already cooked, and I did not want to cook it to death. heh. If you do not have any pre-cooked turkey, then you may want to brown some chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, & Creole seasoning, then set aside. You'd add the browned chicken in during the last hour of simmering on the first day.
- Please read this whole recipe all the way through before starting, as each step contains specific ingredients.
- About food safety -- Your T-day turkey should have been consumed or frozen by now. I cut a significant amount of meat from the carcass and relegated both to the freezer on Thanksgiving night! I knew I'd want a gumbo and I didn't want food safety to be an issue. I thawed the carcass a bit prior to making the turkey stock.
Turkey & Andouille Gumbo
There are several steps to this recipe. It's a two day process, but if you have a third day to dedicate to letting the gumbo flavors meld, then use it. :)
Make the roasted turkey stock:
1 turkey carcass (whole or cut in half)
1 qt water
fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Roast the turkey carcass at 450 for 50 minutes. Drain and keep the stock for DAY 1. Let turkey carcass cool and remove any large chunks of meat, setting aside for DAY 2. Discard the carcass.
Mince the veggies:
4 cloves garlic
1 c onion
1 c celery
bell pepper (I used 1/2 orange and 1/2 red)
3 Tbsp water
Process the above ingredients in a food processor until finely minced/nearly pureed. Set aside for later in DAY 1.
De-grease the andouille:
Slice or dice the andouille, then saute' it over medium heat to render the fat from it. Remove to drain on paper toweling and set aside for later DAY 1. If you'll be using the same pot to prepare the gumbo, you have a choice of leaving the rendered fat in the pot and adding enough additional veg oil to make a roux. Or, you can clean out the animal fat with a paper towel (don't wipe away any brown bits from the andouille, though) and use all veg oil for the roux.
Heat the stock/Make a roux:
1 qt roasted turkey stock
2 qt chicken stock
1 c flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1) In a medium-sized pot (not the gumbo pot), heat the chicken and turkey stocks together over medium heat so they are hot but not boiling. Keep hot for adding to the gumbo.
2)Heat the oil in the gumbo pot over med/low heat. Slowly stir the flour into the oil. Continue stirring constantly to blend flour and oil together, then KEEP stirring until the roux reaches a color that is a shade darker than peanut butter. (This is a dark brown roux.)
Make the gumbo:
hot chicken and turkey stock
3 cups hot water (to thin roux)
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of Peychaud bitters
1) Add minced veggies to roux in gumbo pot. Stir together, sauteeing roux and veggies, until roux is smooth and veggies are soft.
2) Slowly whisk in 1 qt of hot stock into roux mixture.
3) Add the remaining stock, turning up to medium-high heat and whisking to make sure roux is thoroughly incorporated.
4) Add bay leaf, andouille, Worcestershire sauce, bitters, seasonings, and hot sauce.
5) Let simmer for 1 - 2 hours.
6) Cool down, then refrigerate overnight.
Skim, simmer and serve:
chopped pre-cooked turkey (white and dark meat) and turkey from carcass on DAY 1 (enough to make 2 cups)
1 - 2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1) Remove gumbo from fridge, skim fat from top of gumbo.
2) Place gumbo on stove and simmer on medium-low for 3 - 4 hours. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings during this time.
3) Continue skimming fat as needed.
4) Add the turkey, liquid smoke, green onions, a Tbsp of file, and the parsley during the last hour of simmering. (I did a rare thing and omitted the green onions and parsley because I thought that the 'discriminating' stepchild might actually eat the gumbo sans green stuff. She still didn't have any.) Try not to go without the green stuff if you can.
5) Serve with a generous scoop of extra long grain white rice and top with a sprinkling of filé powder.
Enjoy with a cold Abita beer or a glass of white wine. Add some good French bread and a salad of rocket with a refreshing hint of orange on the side.