Going back to my heritage and upbringing, my family moved a lot when I was a kid. At the time, I didn't like it one bit. Sure, I got to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific on the island of Oahu. I played in the sandy beaches in southern Florida. I even shouted, "Throw me something, Mister" to a krewe at Mardi Gras. But when you are young and constantly changing schools and having to meet new friends that look at you like you are an alien (at least that is how I felt), it was no picnic.
However, looking back on it I realize that all of those moves brought a little love into my kitchen. This recipe is the perfect example.
We spent several years in New Orleans and boy, oh boy are there some good eats in that city. Étouffé, Jambalaya, crawfish, and beignets just to name a few. But there is one dish we have been enjoying ever since we left New Orleans to use our turkey leftovers--Turkey and Sausage Gumbo. My mom made it back then, but I continue the leftover tradition with my family. Now mind you, this is not the most authentic recipe (hard to find good andouille sausage here and my children aren't fond of okra), but it is the tastiest.
Gumbo is a classic Cajun dish. It consists of a dark brown roux, the "holy trinity" (onions, bell pepper and celery) of the South, a good stock, and various meats or shellfish. It is served as a soup or stew. The hardest part about making gumbo is the roux. Not that it is difficult, it just takes a little time. A roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is cooked to a dark nutty brown. Below is a little step-by-step to show you the color changing process of the roux. Once the roux has achieved its desired color, immediately add the prepared vegetables to stop the cooking process and to quickly soften the vegetables. Then add your stock and meats and let it simmer the day away. I finish mine with a little cornstarch mixture to thicken it up a bit. Serve the gumbo over steamed white rice with a garnish of sliced green onions and some corn bread to help clean every morsel off the plate. That is a bowl of some serious comfort food. Oh, and if you have already used your leftover turkey, you can roast a few turkey thighs and legs (they are on sale at the market) or feel free to just throw in some roasted chicken. Either way, it is going to taste good--real good!
Over medium-low heat whisk together flour and oil.
Keep whisking and whisking and...
whisking until you have reached a nutty brown color.
Add the "holy trinity" to stop the roux from cooking.
Pour in the stock, herbs, spices and meats and simmer away.
Turkey and Sausage Gumbo
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 quarts (8 cups ) of turkey/chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups cooked turkey, shredded
12-16 oz sausage, andouille or kielbasa, sliced into 1/2 pieces
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons of additional stock or water
kosher salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
chopped green onion for garnish (optional)
Steamed white rice
In a medium skillet, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage and cook for 5 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Using a whisk, gradually stir in the flour. Whisk until combined. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue whisking until the roux is a dark nutty brown, about 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to burn the roux.
Immediately add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Stir to combine with the roux. Add the garlic. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Stir in the stock, reserved sausage and turkey. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Skim any fat that surfaces and discard.
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and additional stock/water until cornstarch has dissolved. Bring the gumbo to a rolling boil and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir the gumbo until it begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne if using. Remove from the heat and allow to rest while you prepare the rice. Serve in bowls over the rice. Garnish with chopped green onion and a few dashes of Tabasco if using. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from my mom