I grew up in Louisiana, which is famous for tasty Cajun food. One of the staples in Louisiana is gumbo, and it is one of the most popular dishes with my friends and family. In fact, my family likes gumbo so much, one of my cats is actually named Gumbeaux—which is pronounced just like gumbo. It’s the Cajun spelling. 😉
The leftover turkey from Thanksgiving makes a wonderful gumbo, although it is just as good with chicken. We did a little cooking last week, so I thought I would share the recipe with you, including some photos and a few tips and tricks on how to make the perfect roux.
First, boil the turkey carcass for about 30 to 45 minutes. It will make a good broth and the rest of the meat should just fall off the bone.
Separate the meat from the bones and save the broth. Refrigerate the meat and broth if you are not making the gumbo immediately.
Now for the roux. The roux is the biggest trick to making a good gumbo. Not brown enough, and the flavor is just OK. Too brown, and the gumbo tastes like burned soup.
Pour ¼ cup oil in a large stock pot that you will cook the gumbo in. Turn the burner onto medium heat, and slowly add ½ cup flour, stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon.
The color will change from cream to tan to brown to red brown. When it gets red brown, remove it from heat. This can take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your burner.
In a separate skillet, melt 1 stick of butter. Sauté 2-3 ribs of chopped celery, a chopped onion, and a chopped bell pepper. Or, if you want to be lazy (like me), you just add a frozen bag of these vegetables.
While the vegetable mix is sautéing, add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper to the roux and stir. I like to actually add a little more seasoning than indicated in the recipe—we don’t do a lot of measuring in my house when we are making gumbo.
Add the leftover broth from the turkey to the stock pot, and once the vegetables in the skillet are softened, add them to the stock pot as well.
Now add your turkey meat and some sliced sausage. Stir well, bring the whole thing to a boil, and cover and simmer for at least an hour. Serve over rice.
Gumbo should last you for a few days, and it is one of the only things that I think tastes better on the 2nd day! Some people think okra is a necessity for gumbo. I don’t really like okra (unless it is fried), but if you like okra, just add a bag of frozen okra to the pot before you bring it to a boil.
Here’s the recipe:
Turkey (or Chicken) Gumbo
¼ cup oil
½ cup flour
6 cups broth (can use canned chicken broth or mix homemade and canned broth if needed)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or a frozen “seasoning mix” saves a lot of chopping time)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 bag frozen okra (optional)
1 or 2 links sausage (I like andouille sausage), sliced
Leftover turkey (or chicken), about 2 to 3 cups
Make a roux by heating ¼ cup of oil in a stock pot. Gradually add ½ cup of flour, stirring constantly until the roux is a dark red brown color. Remove from heat.
Sauté celery, onion, and bell pepper in a stick of melted butter until vegetables are soft.
Add sautéed vegetables, diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, okra (if you want), broth, turkey, sausage, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to stock pot with roux. Stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for one hour.
Serve over rice.
Becky Loyd manages the marketing team for LifeWay’s Adult Ministry. When she’s not wrangling a rogue group of strategists, writers, and designers, Becky is cheering for the LSU Tigers or baking yummy treats. This self-proclaimed pseudo-crafter makes frequent trips to Moldova in Eastern Europe and stashes multiple pairs of shoes under her desk. Follow her on Twitter @Becky_Loyd or Instagram @Becky_Loyd.