Thanksgiving Dark Roux Turkey Gumbo
The perfect dish for that delicious leftover turkey
This recipe works best for turkey and sausage, but can be used with chicken, duck, lamb, pork, or whatever you have on hand. Be sure to save the drippings from whatever you choose to roast, and be sure to make the Cajun spice blend ahead of time.
Cajun Spice Blend – Combine the following, mix well, and store in a mason jar:
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup celery salt
½ cup regular paprika
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
¼ cup granulated garlic
¼ cup granulated onion
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons ground basil
2 tablespoons ground oregano
1 tablespoon ground sage
After you roast and carve your turkey, boil the leftover turkey bones / carcass in 12 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt, some chunks of celery (2 or 3 stalks) and some chunks of onion (2 or 3 onions). Full boil for an hour, then simmer on low for as long as 8 more hours. Cool the stock and strain it, discarding everything but the broth. Refrigerate the turkey stock and skim off any fat that rises to the top after it has set. Texture of the stock may become gelatinous, a good sign of quality stock.
Dark Roux Gumbo
1 roasted turkey (or turkey leftovers), pulled and chopped into chunks (4 cups of diced turkey, a mix of dark and white meat)
1 lb smoked sausage (andouille sausage is preferred), cut into small chunks
1/2 cup Cajun spice blend (if you do not make your own, be sure to use a low-sodium version)
8 cups turkey stock (or chicken broth & chicken stock if you do not have time to boil down the roast turkey bones)
1 cup turkey fat drippings from roasting, strained to remove bits (if you have less than 1 cup of drippings, then make up the difference with some cooking oil)
1.5 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil (combined with the turkey fat drippings you should have a total of 2 to 2.5 cups of oil/fat)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
5 bay leaves
2 bell peppers, diced
2 yellow onions, diced
5 stalks celery diced
3 cups chopped okra
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup Louisiana hot sauce (Crystal Hot Sauce works too)
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
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Chop all the vegetables and combine into a bowl before starting the roux.
Start the roux: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat, add the 2.5 cups oil & drippings and get it warmed up. Once it’s hot, add the 2 cups flour a little at a time while stirring. Consistency should be a loose paste easily stirred. Keeping the heat at a medium to medium-high temp, stir the roux continuously for the next 30 to 45 minutes. Use a flat wooden spoon or whisk while stirring to ensure you are not letting the flour stick anywhere on the bottom of the pot. Goal is to prevent the flour/roux from scorching and you must stir constantly. At a medium heat, the roux should be bubbling at a moderate pace while you stir, so adjust your heat accordingly. You are basically “frying” the flour while stirring.
As you approach 20 minutes the color of the roux should change from a golden blond color to a “peanut butter brown” color. By 30 minutes the color should be approaching a chocolate brown color. Depending on your heat, somewhere between 35 to 45 minutes you should be approaching a dark chocolate brown color.
When you have reached this point you must stir quickly and continuously to prevent the roux from burning. If it starts smoking and black flecks suddenly begin appearing, you’ve gone too far and will have to start over! The ideal dark roux is a deep, dark chocolate brown which can only be achieved by getting just to the edge before it starts to burn. When you’re at the right color, dump in all the chopped bell pepper, onion, & celery (the holy trinity), and minced garlic. It will sizzle for a few seconds when the vegetables hit the hot roux so be careful and continue to stir everything for 3 minutes until the texture of the trinity starts to soften.
Add the 1/2 cup Cajun seasoning and the sausage, then stir everything together. Next, add the 8 cups of turkey stock and the bay leaves. Finally, add the chopped turkey and gently stir the pot to ensure everything is mixed well. Turn the heat up to high in order to bring it to a boil for 5 minutes, and then turn the heat down to low for a slow simmer. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the ¼ cup Louisiana hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon cayenne. Add it to the gumbo and stir it in gently. Taste for salt and add a little at a time, only if needed.
Serve the gumbo over freshly cooked white rice, topped with some fresh chopped green onions or fresh chopped parsley. In the bayou country down here, a lot of folks serve it with a dollop of potato salad.
Enjoy – Happy Thanksgiving!
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