the recipe: turkey sausage gumbo

(Note: We are off to camp in a yurt today, so we photos of the gumbo will be added to this post as soon as possible! Good luck!)

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal actually happens the day after Thanksgiving. While other people are eating turkey-cranberry-stuffing sandwiches (you can have mine, thanks), I will be eating Turkey Sausage Gumbo. Growing up, my grandfather made the gumbo after Thanksgiving and Christmas with the leftover turkey. One year, Gramps taught my husband to make gumbo (with subsequent help from my Aunt Lisie on the roux). Rob has made turkey gumbo every Thanksgiving since. This is my grandfather’s recipe for gumbo.

Turkey-Sausage Gumbo

1 turkey carcass, picked clean                     1 cup flour

2 lbs sausage                                              1 cup vegetable oil

3 large onions, chopped                              2 bell peppers, chopped

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped                           6 stalks celery, chopped

3-4 bay leaves                                              2 lbs. sliced okra (frozen is ok)

1-2 Tbl Lea & Perrins                                     salt, black & red pepper to taste

If the turkey carcass does not have much meat, add an extra cooked turkey breast or two. You can also use two chickens, boiled and boned.

Make a roux with flour and oil. Take it as dark brown as you can without burning it, then add all chopped seasonings (onion, garlic, bell peppers, and celery). Stir often and cook down for about an hour. Add okra and cook until it is no longer slimy. This will take longer if the okra is fresh, and don’t forget to stir. Add enough water to make a thick gumbo, then add turkey or chicken and sausage. Stir well, then season with bay leaves, Lea & Perrins, salt, and peppers. Cook some more. Check for thickness and seasoning. The longer it cooks, the better it will be.

If you have never had gumbo (and by that I mean you have never been to South Louisiana and had gumbo), it should be nice and dark and look like the swamp. It will be smoky and delicious if you take your time. You can cook this all day if you want to, but plan on at least a couple of hours. Use your food processer to prep the veggies. We use regular old Hickory Farms smoked sausage, but Andouille is great or try jalapeño sausage. Serve your gumbo over rice. Let me know how it goes. And when you eat this, please say a little thank you prayer for Gramps.