I’m not a turkey person. I’m not. I go for the “oysters” under the turkey that flank the turkey backbone. It’s dark meat at its unctuous finest but after that the bird is all yours. If the oysters “disappear” then I won’t be having turkey that year. I like having leftovers to pack up for Daddy and the traditional sandwiches the day following Thanksgiving but I find, without fail, I always have bags of turkey meat left over. Mammoth drumsticks pester me from their gallon freezer bags as do equally huge bags of carved white meat. “Use me! Use me!”, they taunt. Okay. Get ready to be scarfed down and enjoyed. The secret to this recipe is a good roux which takes no talent at all…just time, shugah. You must, MUST, continually whisk it in order for the flavor to bloom and to avoid scorching. Scorch or burn the roux and all you can do is throw it out and start over. It takes roughly 30 minutes to prepare. But other than that it’s easy, clear sailing. I’m not going to prepare turkey pot pie, tetrazzini, turkey soup, spaghetti sauce or anything. I’m not. I’ll toss it before I make that stuff. But gumbo? Oh, yes, ma’am! This’ll be a family favorite, I kid you not. It’s cold out and now it’s the Christmas season. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.
Turkey and Sausage Gumbo
- 8 cups turkey meat plus the turkey carcass and any bones you wish to use, it’s fine to use more turkey if you have it
- enough water to cover the turkey in the pot
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 12-ounce package Aidell’s andouille sausage or the andouille of your choice
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 5 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated garlic
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- prepared rice to serve with gumbo
- scallions, sliced, to garnish
- Place turkey in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then cover and drop temperature to a gentle simmer.
- While the stock is being prepared add the vegetable oil and flour to a sauce pan and whisk over medium to medium high heat.
- Continue whisking the roux until it becomes a dark chestnut color. Do not walk away from it at any point or it may scorch or burn and there’s no saving it at that point. You’ll have to start all over.
- Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and thyme to the roux and stir, cooking the vegetables over medium-low heat until softened.
- Remove roux from heat and set aside.
- Cut the sausage in 1/4″ thick rounds.
- Add olive oil to a skillet and brown the sausage.
- Remove any bones from the turkey stock and shred any large pieces of meat.
- Add a cup or two of stock to the roux mixture and stir until smooth.
- Add the roux mixture and sausage to the stock. Stir until all ingredients are completely incorporated into the stock.
- Simmer until thickened about 2 hours.
- Serve over rice and garnish with sliced scallions.
I had to make room in my hateful, miniscule, dorm-room size refrigerator for the 25-pound turkey, the 10-pound spiral cut ham and all the trimmings that go with Thanksgiving dinner. On a mission, I threw out THREE, count ’em, three, opened jars of Greek pistachio spoon sweets in syrup. Keeping one, the thought occurred to me, “Really? Who needs four OPEN jars of that ambrosial stuff?” Into the trash went an enormous, almost empty jar of jalapenos in brine, four lonely slices sloshing around the glass. I found an unopened jar of that fabulous jar of fig in red wine jam I made a month or two ago. I set in on the counter…in the maybe section. The plastic container filled with obsidian green spinach, dark and glossy with olive oil and sautéed garlic…out you go. And then I discovered the leftover butternut squash I had roasted several nights ago. It was gorgeous and I knew I couldn’t part with it. I had run into my friend, Brooke, at Michael’s Craft Store the other day and after laughing and chewing over our personal problems, our children’s problems and our career problems we moved on to discussing dinner. She asked me if I had a good recipe for roasted butternut soup. “No”, I answered, “I don’t. Every recipe I’ve tried has always been a significant disappointment. Why, do you??” She did not. Today I figured I’d come up with my version of a roasted butternut soup that would make me swoon with culinary delight whether it be hot, warm or cold. I was determined to make those leftovers work for me. I pulled out every cookbook and recipe I had. I didn’t want a soup strong with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon or cumin. No. I wanted a French-style soup that had the sweet yet savory flavor that butternut squash can be coaxed to share. You know. The kind of flavor you get in a $14.00 cup lunching at some stellar museum restaurant. Well! This is it. Silky smooth, it is noting short of perfection. That bowl that’s in the photos? I gobbled it down. You will love this winter soup. The squash may be roasted specifically for the soup or you can use your leftovers. It can be pureed with an immersion stick blender, (that’s what I use), a food processor or a traditional blender. It’s beautiful. Enjoy!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 5 scallions, white and pale green parts chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped, leaves included
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 quarts, (8 cups), water
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
- Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cut side and into the bowl of each piece of squash.
- Sprinkle half of the brown sugar over each piece of squash and roast in the oven until fork tender, anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the thickness of the squash.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Set aside.
- While the squash is cooling, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot.
- Add the scallions to the butter, stirring often, and cook until limp and translucent.
- Add the carrots and celery and stir well to coat all the vegetables with the butter.
- With a large spoon, scoop the flesh of the squash out of the peel and add it to the pot. Discard the peel.
- Add the water and bring to a boil.
- Drop the heat down to a simmer and let the vegetables gently cook for 45 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Puree the soup until it is completely smooth. Add the remaing 2 tablespoons of butter and cayenne pepper and stir until completely incorporated.
- Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve hot, warm or cold.