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Turkey And Sausage Gumbo

We smoke two turkeys every year for our Thanksgiving dinner, and that leaves behind a large quantity of secondary parts–the backbone, the wing, that kind of stuff. Those carry much of the perfect meat for making gumbo. And since the turkey is already smoky, the flavor of the soup has a head start on lustiness.

I usually prepare the stock while I’m cleaning up the kitchen Thanksgiving night. Then I let it cool, and put the stock and the turkey meat into the refrigerator for a day or two before I finish the gumbo.

Turkey & Sausage Gumbo

  • Stock:
  • One or two cooked turkey carcasses, with all available scraps
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 2 ribs celery, cut up
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 quarts chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 lb. andouille or smoked sausage
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice
  • Filé powder (available from stores with New Orleans products)

1. Collect all the leftover turkey bones and meat, omitting the skin. Put them into a big enough stockpot that you can add at least two gallons of water. Add the bay leaves, cut-up onion, celery, thyme, and peppercorns. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting. Simmer for and hour or two

2. Strain the stock. Set the bones and the meat aside; discard the vegetables. If you like, you can put the process on hold at this point by letting the stock cool and refrigerating it, along with the turkey bones and meat

3. To complete the gumbo, blend the flour and the oil in a saucepan and make as dark a roux as you can, stirring constantly to avoid burning it. (The higher the heat, the more assiduously you must stir.)

4. When the roux is medium-dark, turn down the heat and add the onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley. Sauté them in the roux until the onions are clear and have begun to brown a little.

5. Skim the fat off the top of the stock, and add it to the roux. Bring to a light boil.

6. While that’s happening, pick the meat from the turkey bones and set aside. Slice the andouille into one-inch-thick discs. Wrap them in paper towels and microwave them on medium power for about three minutes, to remove excess fat. Add the turkey meat and the sausage to the gumbo pot.

7. Lower to a simmer and cook the gumbo for one to two hours. Stir every now and then.

8. Serve over cooked long-grain rice. Scatter some green onions over the top, and a pinch or two of filé at the table.

Serves six to ten.

6 Readers Commented

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  1. Tom Fitzmorris on December 6, 2013

    I use a little less oil than flour, but a 1:1 ratio is the standard.

    Tastefully yours,
    Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Anthony on June 14, 2014

    I like okra in my chicken/andouille gumbo. Do any of the actual old time recipes include okra, or am I simply in the territory of creativity is okay with gumbo?

    • Tom Fitzmorris on June 14, 2014

      If it tastes like gumbo to you, it passes my test for legitimacy.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  3. David Puckett on November 27, 2015

    I’ve stopped making roux on stove-tops years ago. I warm the oil in an enamel covered dutch oven, stir my flour then place in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes, then stirring and checking every 15 for correct color. When the roux is nearly noir, I then toss my trinity to cool and keep from over-cooking. Add the cooled roux into a rolling stock then whisking (very important step) for 15 minutes keep both from breaking.
    This method will deliver a delicious, dark roux without the afterburners blasting on the bottom of the pot. Perfect every time.

  4. Jimbo on November 29, 2015

    Spot on recipe! I like the part where you say, ” make the roux as dark as you can.” The other part of your method that is good is cooking the onions and hard vegetables in the hot roux. You can’t do that in the oven. Good tradition. We always cook this dish on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

  5. Larry on November 27, 2017

    I looked through the recipe list but couldn’t find Parsley.

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