Is it too soon to be thinking about leftovers? Thanksgiving is definitely our favorite holiday–what’s not to love about a whole day devoted to family, friends, and food? And this is a holiday that keeps on giving–besides all the fun we’ll have tomorrow, we’ll end the day poised before a world of turkey possibilities. We’ll make sandwiches (probably even before we go to bed), and we’ll have some turkey hash on Friday, but in our opinions, the highest and best use for a turkey carcass, what really makes it all worthwhile, is a big pot of turkey gumbo. Rich and mysterious, this is a stew far greater than the sum of its parts. It’s hearty and filling, and needs nothing more than a little hot rice or crusty bread to make the most satisfying dinner for the week to come. Make some this weekend when you’re still in vacation mode and you won’t need to cook again for awhile.
Turkey & Sausage Gumbo
1 c flour
1 c oil (use something that can withstand high temperatures-peanut or grapes are our top choices)
1 turkey carcass + leftover meat
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced, browned, and drained
2 bell peppers (red or green, or a combination), diced
1 onion, diced
4 ribs celery, plus leaves, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Make turkey stock. Place turkey carcass (pick as much meat off the bones as possible and set aside) in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring up to a high simmer over medium high heat and continue simmering for 30-45 minutes. While stock is simmering, make a roux: combine flour and oil in a heavy Dutch oven (cast iron is best if possible). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until roux is deep chocolate brown. Turn heat off and immediately add peppers, onion, celery, green onions, and garlic. Stir to coat vegetables with roux. Strain turkey stock into the Dutch oven to reach a couple inches below the top*, add bay leaves, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add turkey meat, sausage, and parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and continue simmering for 30-45 minutes. Serve with warm jasmine rice and crusty baguette.
*Strain and freeze or refrigerate any remaining turkey stock for soup or risotto.