What to do with the leftover turkey??? DO THIS!!
Gumbo is the king soup at our house! Those of you who know me know that I love Cajun/Creole food. Growing up ninety miles from New Orleans, you’re bound to fall in love with the flavors and the dishes. Plus, we’ve got family in the New Orleans area, so I’m proud of this love that I have for the food (and for the people too!). We always do Seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve–a tradition my sweet Nannie Broome started years ago and one that I try to carry on. I included this recipe in the cookbook and here’s the back story that I shared.
The Top 20 Countdown crew came out to the house one fall and filmed a post Thanksgiving episode in my kitchen. Dottie Rotch, our producer, asked me to share a recipe for leftover turkey with the viewers and gumbo is what I cooked. I substituted andouille sausage and turkey for the crabmeat and shrimp that I do at Christmas time. It came out great! I was a little nervous because cooking for camera can be a little nerve wrecking-if something happens and you mess up, some times you can’t go backwards-it’s mixed and you don’t have more ingredients to redo or it takes too long to recook- time is money in the TV world! Then I found out in the middle of the process that this pot of gumbo was going to be the crew’s lunch! YIKES. That’s pressure. Our crew works so hard and a filling and good meal in the middle is imperative, so I had to/this gumbo had to deliver! And thankfully, it turned out great for both camera and for hungry crew. We finished taping and we were all so hungry that we just stood in the kitchen around the stove and ate it–didn’t bother sitting down or nothing! The pot was completely empty by the end of lunch.
The key to good gumbo is the roux. Don’t cut corners on it. Make sure to get it nice and brown. Stir the roux constantly so that it doesn’t burn, but gets a rich dark brown. Be patient and keep stirring…it will be worth it. The flavor of gumbo is best on day 2, so cook this up today with your leftover turkey and let the flavors meld together tonight. Then after a marathon Saturday shopping trip or cleaning day or visiting with family, cook some rice, along with some crusty french bread toasted with butter, garlic powder and a pinch of salt, and sit down to a Louisiana favorite. Hoping it becomes your new favorite, too! And as they say down in New Orleans, laissez les bon temps rouler-let the good times roll!
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease
- 2 heaping tablespoons flour
- 1 pound frozen, chopped okra (can also use fresh)
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 large green pepper, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I use Red Gold)
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 3 quarts hot water
- 1 pound turkey meat, cooked and cut into small chunks
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, cooked and cut into slices
- 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning (may add more to taste-I like about a 1 teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons gumbo file (found in the seafood dept. at my grocery store)
- Zatarain's liquid crab boil to taste (optional)
- Hot cooked rice
- In a large stockpot, heat bacon grease. Add flour and stir constantly to make the roux. Brown until the flour's color is very dark.
- Add okra, onions, and peppers and cook until okra is stringy, stirring frequently.
- Add tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, and hot water. Heat this mixture to a boil and then reduce heat.
- Add turkey, sausage and Creole seasoning and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. May simmer longer.
- While hot, add file and stir. Gumbo can be kept hot on low heat, but don't boil again once file has been added.
- If desired, add a dash of the crab boil to the entire pot, to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving with cooked rice.
- The liquid crab boil is my personal over-the-top addition! Use sparingly. Don't put too much in--it is hot, but so good. You can always had more, but you can't undo once it's in there. I've made Charlie face sweat many times by going too heavy. Serve with crusty French bread toasted with butter, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and hot cooked rice.