Save that Thanksgiving Day turkey carcass and freeze it for Turkey Gumbo at Christmas, or make the gumbo right after Thanksgiving and freeze it for cold winter days.
Be sure you have an entire day to devote to this, because making your own turkey stock from the carcass takes lots of time and love!
Turkey Gumbo – Post-ThanksgivingPrint Recipe
For the Stock
- 1 Turkey Carcass for the stock
- 1 Large Onion for the stock
- 2 Celery Stalks for the stock
- 6 Bay Leaves for the stock
- 3 Parsley Stalks for the stock
For the Gumbo
- 1 lb Andouille (or smoked sausage of choice) Sliced or cut to desired size/shape
- 4 Celery Stalks Chopped to desired size
- 2 Bell Peppers – large Chopped to desired size
- 1 Onion – large Chopped to desired size
- 1/4 Cup Parsley Leaves Chopped fine
- 1 Bunch Green Onion Tops Chopped
- 1 tsp Sea Salt or salt to taste after cooked
- 1 tsp File' for flavor and thickening
For the Stock
- Place carcass, 1 whole onion, 2 celery cut in half, 3 parsley stalks, and bay leaves in large stockpot and fill with water not quite over carcass (see photo) and bring to boil.
- After boiling, cover pot and lower to medium/low simmer for at least two hours or until meat falls off the bones. This may take longer, so start early in the day!
- Place another large pot or container in sink, place colander on top, and strain the stock, saving the meat and carcass in stockpot.
- Pour turkey carcass and all meat that fell off onto a tray to cool. Meanwhile, pour all the stock back into original stockpot on low heat to keep hot.
- Separate meat from bones. CAUTION: HOT Chop meat into smaller pieces if so desired. REMEMBER: The meat will continue to fall apart as gumbo cooks! (Trash the bones)
For the Gumbo
- In large skillet, place the cut sausage and a small amount of oil to slowly, lightly brown the sausage and render the fat. Then, remove sausage and reserve the oil/fat in skillet.
- To the oil in skillet, add the celery, bell pepper, and onion and sauté on low until soft
- Using slotted spoon, add all the sautéed vegetables and sausage to stock and simmer on low for an hour
- After an hour, taste for seasoning. Add Cajun spice if you like, salt, and black pepper to taste
- Now chop the green onion tops and parsley leaves and add to the gumbo.
- Add the file' and stir well. Taste again for seasoning. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Gumbo is ready to serve anytime after 15 more minutes of simmer.
Hopefully the photos below will help clarify the steps for beginners.
NOW, before some of you start in on the fact that this gumbo has no roux, stop right there. We’ve had this discussion many times! If you are a seasoned cook and prefer to have a roux, then go right ahead. However, in traditional low-bayou gumbo, there is no roux. The reason this gumbo takes so long is because ALL the flavor and ALL the color come from the cooking process. You don’t see much color in the photo above, because I didn’t put much sauce in that bowl – I wanted you to see the rice . . . but the sauce/stock is a light brown. All the vegetables in this dish actually form the base for this gumbo, instead of a roux. If you talk to the old-time bayou cooks, they will tell you that a roux is for a stew, no arguments!
If you’ve never done this before, you will be surprised how much delicious, moist dark meat is still attached to those bones! If you don’t want to use the carcass and have lots of meat leftover, then buy some turkey or chicken stock and follow the rest of the instructions for gumbo and it should (almost) as good!
With that in mind, if you have a turkey at Christmas, save the carcass and make yourself a nice big pot of hot gumbo for those cold winter days ahead!
Happy Holidays, everyone!