Every year after thanksgiving I have a ton of leftover food. Whether it be mashed potatoes, vegetables or turkey, it’s a mess of food that could feed the entire neighborhood. I usually eat a few turkey sandwiches or make turkey pot pies, but man this year I’m totally going to change things up! I’m going to make a turkey gumbo with shrimp, andouille, ham, and brown rice! I’m sick of eating the same old thing, in fact if our family wasn’t so married to turkey I’d be eating a big ol’ prime rib roast! What I need to do is start treating turkey like chicken and make whatever I want with it, instead of being tricked into thinking turkey only goes well under puff pastry with vegetables or in tetrazzini. Turkey goes wonderful with so many other things so it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and into some tasty cooking.
It’s sometimes hard to make classic dishes because they are so near and dear to the ethnic or regional group that inspired those dishes that if you’re off by the slightest bit, you’re going to hear about it. I love doing the classics, but I’ve also got personality, a sense of style and enough culinary chops to infuse my tone into it. It’s ok if I’m a little off from the norm, I did it on purpose! For example, gumbo is served with white rice. Guess what, I don’t want to eat it with white rice, I want to eat it with brown rice. Brown rice is better for you! If you’ve only ever used Bob’s Red Mill for flours or gluten-free flours then you are missing out. They have an assortment of wonderful grains from rice, to millet, to quinoa, you name it I’m positive they carry it. We trust Bob as a main food source in our house so using their brown rice is a no brainer for us! Be sure to cook the brown rice ahead of time and keep it warm before serving it along with the gumbo recipe.
There are several ways to make gumbo, whether it be a dark brown base, tomato base or more of a greenish tint, which is what my turkey gumbo recipe is. Regardless of the color of gumbo, it all starts with a similar base and a dark roux to help bring out the color. My turkey gumbo was green because of the use of gumbo filé which is finely ground sassafras leaves. The base of gumbo consists of onions, celery and green bell peppers. I like adding color to the gumbo so I added in some red peppers along with some garlic for flavor.
You can make the roux in the same pot with the soup or in a separate pan and then simply add it in. The best way I know how to do this is by first cooking the shrimp, remove them and then adding equal parts in weight butter and flour to the soup pot and cooking it until it becomes dark brown. Remove the roux, add in a little oil and quickly sear the vegetables before adding in most of the other ingredients. You have to be careful when making gumbo because you have very delicate protein in there, shrimp. If you over cook shrimp it literally turns to mush and it is honestly pretty gross once it gets to this stage so be sure to add back in the shrimp at the end when you add in the okra. While traditionally you would use crawfish in the recipe, and you absolutely can, I had a hard time finding it and after going to 4 grocery stores I settled on shrimp – what can I say I live in Chicago and crawfish isn’t in abundance. Don’t worry though because the shrimp in this turkey gumbo is fantastic!
Once the veggies are tender, add in the gumbo filé along with the leftover cut up turkey from Thanksgiving, leftover ham, andouille sausage and chicken or shrimp stock. I used chicken stock in my recipe and if you have a little shrimp stock lying around then for sure use it! Bring the soup to a boil and then add in your dark roux and stir until it becomes thick. Turn the heat down and finish it up with okra, the cooked shrimp we set aside, fresh thyme and parsley and simmer it over low heat until it is ready to be eaten alongside some cooked brown rice!
I added a few garnishes to the turkey gumbo such as crispy prosciutto, lemon zest and chopped thyme and parsley for a little color. Hope you enjoy it and hope this helps get out of the same leftover thanksgiving rut that I’m always in as well! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Gumbo from Bayou Country
For the Roux:
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
For the Gumbo:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 pound of shelled 30/40 shrimp
- 2 peeled and small diced small yellow onions
- 5 small diced stalks of celery
- 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 2 each seeded and small diced red and green bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon of gumbo filé
- 3 cups of cooked chopped leftover turkey
- 2 cups of cooked medium diced leftover ham
- 8 ounces of cooked sliced andouille sausage
- 96 ounces of chicken stock
- 1 pound of sliced frozen okra
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
- 4 cups of cooked Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce to taste
Roux: In a large pot add in the butter and flour and make a dark roux over medium-low heat, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the dark roux and set aside.
Next, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and cook the shrimp over medium heat until they are just about cooked and then remove them and chill.
Next, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and sear the onions, celery, garlic and peppers for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender.
Stir in the gumbo filé and then add in the turkey, ham, sausage and chicken stock and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling stir in the roux and continue to stir until it becomes thick.
Finish by adding the okra, thyme, parsley and shrimp and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve the gumbo over the cooked brown rice and garnish with optional garnishes: crispy prosciutto ham, lemon zest, chopped parsley and thyme.