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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:31

Don’t throw out that left-over turkey unless your holiday guests have nibbled every bit of meat from the bones. Combining the turkey with your favorite pork sausage and/or andouille can make for a very tasty comfort dish


in the days following Thanksgiving or Christmas; and keep in mind that this prepared gumbo can be frozen for a later date even though you purchased your turkey in a frozen state. Once cooked, the previously frozen turkey, meat, or seafood can be safely re-frozen, thawed and reheated.

The recipe for the turkey-sausage gumbo can accessed by clicking on the link; and, as we often include, you’ll find a brief slide presentation on You Tube by clicking here.

Many readers may not be familiar with preparing a gumbo; so whether you’re an expert or just getting the hang of it, carefully review the helpful hints below.

  • always start with the roux; usually 1/2 to 1 cup of equal parts flour and vegetable oil
  • always have your vegetables, meats, stock prepared and close at hand when ready to add to the pot; you cannot call time out when preparing a roux
  • the greater surface area of your pot, the better; don’t attempt a roux in a sauce pan or stock pot
  • importantly with a roux, you should cook at medium high temperature and stir the entire pot constantly; any interruptions like telephone calls, children, animals, or hurricanes will often mark the disappointing end to your roux—once burned, you must begin anew
  • I find a flat-ended, long-handled wooded spatula best for scraping the pot bottom and sides
  • once the desired color is reached (see the roux blog), immediately add your onions, vegetables, and celery (trinity) and continue to stir; your roux will continue to darken and is still capable of burning
  • if adding a wet vegetable like tomatoes, mushrooms, or okra, allow trinity to really cook down before adding these items to the pot—you cannot brown anything in water
  • if including sausage and/or andouille, I prefer adding these at the same time as the trinity; this will first, allow the sausage to exude its oils and flavor the vegetables; and second, add a more rich flavor to the gumbo by slightly browning the sausage and/or andouille
  • if using okra, purchase fresh baby okra from your grocer’s produce department rather than using the frozen product; I wash, drain, clip the heads and tips, then cut into small circles
  • once added to the ingredients, the okra will tend to give a slimy characteristic to the pot; but don’t dismay, simply continue to stir and this undesirable appearance will disappear; okra is used for thickening as is the roux so some cooks prefer using one or the other; I personally use both often
  • I prefer using poultry that has already been cooked (grilled, baked, roasted, etc) as opposed to adding it raw to the gumbo; the cooked meat will always add a more rich flavor
  • following the introduction of poultry, add your seasonings less parsley and/or green onions which should be added 20-30 minutes before serving
  • seafood gumbos like shrimp, crab meat, oysters should not be added to the pot until the last 30-45 minutes of cooking
  • liquids like stock or water should be added slowly while stirring; it is here that you’ll want to carefully monitor the desired consistency and quantity of liquid
  • if you simmer with the top on, the liquid will remain at same level; if you simmer without a top or partially covered, some liquid will evaporate thereby lessening the base; in which case you’ll want to regularly check the gumbo for possibly needing more stock (don’t add water late in the process, it will “water-down” the gumbo)
  • don’t be concerned with starting with just plain water; the cooked vegetables and meats will actually convert the water into a stock as the gumbo simmers
  • the best chefs taste their dishes as they cook; take the hint and follow the pros
  • if you have file’ (ground sassafras leaves) available, don’t add to the pot; have available for use at the table; caution diners not familiar with file’, to sprinkle very lightly
  • French bread, rice, and potato salad are almost always present at Cajun gumbo dinners

Best wishes for working your turkey overtime. Lezza les bon temps roullez!


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 16:17