My husband and I have a tradition. Every year, whether we're having Thanksgiving at home or not, we order a smoked turkey, make sandwiches with it on Thanksgiving night, and then make a gumbo the next day. The smoked turkey honors my grandfather, who spent several days smoking our turkey every Thanksgiving when he was alive. There was so much care that went into those birds! The sandwiches are a tradition I shared with my grandmother on Thanksgiving evening, and the gumbo tradition is all ours.
This year was no exception and with the cold front that blew in yesterday, it's the perfect post-Thanksgiving meal. Here's the recipe (which can be made with roasted turkey as well):
Makes 6-8 servings
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 pounds smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, chopped
2 quarts turkey broth (see below)
Reserved turkey meat (we always save 2 or 3 cups of dark meat from the turkey before we even make the stock)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1. Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron pot or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.
2. Season the onions, bell peppers, and celery with the salt and cayenne. Add this to the roux and stir until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add the reserved turkey meat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions.
3. Serve in soup bowls with rice. (Can add Filé powder to taste, at the table)
makes approximately 2 quarts
1 turkey carcass
3 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
4 quarts water (or enough to cover the carcass)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1. Put the carcass in a large stockpot and add all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and skim any fat that has risen to the surface.
3. Strain the broth through a large fine-mesh strainer. Reserve any meat that has fallen off of the bones (if it doesn't feel too dry) and any meat that may still remain on the carcass.
Use right away or store the broth in quart containers in the freezer.