December 7, 2010

Turkey Gumbo

After the turkey stock experience, I was not about to just let the stock sit in the freezer looking pretty.  I worked way too hard for that!  Enter turkey gumbo.  The delicious post-Thanksgiving meal that has become a tradition at my parents house.  It not only uses the stock, but you can also use leftover turkey.  Since I did not have any leftover turkey, I just used a small boneless turkey roast.  Which is by far the most difficult part of this recipe.  This gumbo was the least work intensive soup yet.  It involves a roux that if you want, you can stand over the stove stirring forever.   Or you can stick it in the oven and walk away.  I chose the latter.  And the darker the roux, the better.

Turkey Gumbo
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. all purpose flour
2 yellow onions
3-4 celery stalks
1 red pepper
3 cloves of garlic
6-8 c. turkey stock
1 lb. Andouille sausage
1.5 lb. turkey meat
2 T. Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning (any Cajun seasoning will work)
2 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. ground thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine the flour and vegetable oil in a large (mine is 6.5 qt) pot until there are no more lumps.  Put it in the oven uncovered and bake for an hour, checking and stirring it every twenty minutes.  At the end of the hour, it should be the color of milk chocolate, make a little darker.  Delicious roux - complete!  It adds such a rich nutty flavor to the gumbo, and it's jut cooked oil and flour.  Amazing.  Not only does making the roux in the oven making it a thousand times easier, it also lessens the likelihood that the roux will burn.  All around, great plan.  I also sliced the sausage and spread it out on a cookie sheet and baked it at the same time as the roux for about thirty minutes.

Give the onions, celery, and red pepper a rough chop and add to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic.  Puree until there are no large chunks.  You can leave chunks in your gumbo if you want, but I like it to have a pretty smooth "gravy".  Once the roux is out of the oven, move it to the stove top over medium heat.  Add the vegetables (they will cause the roux to simmer up) and cook in the roux for about ten minutes.  Add the Cajun seasonings, cayenne pepper, and thyme.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Add the turkey stock, bay leaves, and sausage.  Bring to a simmer and taste.  Since I used homemade stock from a turkey that was brined, I did not need to add too much salt, just a pinch.  But add as much to your taste.  Let simmer uncovered for about two hours.  Add turkey right before you serve since it's already cooked and simmer just long enough to heat the turkey through.  Serve with white rice (I used Cajun popcorn rice) and green onions.

I could not keep Stud away from this one while it simmered.  He kept snacking on spoonfuls of the roux and sausage.  And baking the roux makes this one so simple.  Bake, then add some stuff, and then walk away and let it simmer. And the result is so delicious.  I can't think of the words to describe the way the dark roux smells and's just so hearty and warming.  I would fail if I was on Next Food Network Star right now.  The gumbo was perfect for the freezing temperatures and snow we had over the weekend.

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