that turkey I roasted a few days ago? I was so proud of the way it turned out. It was delicious, the house smelled amazing and it looked like I grabbed it out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Most people wouldn't be able to ask for much more than that on a Tuesday night, right?!
Wrong. Way wrong.
Before he was even done eating dinner, and before my son asked for his third serving, my husband was already asking when I was making gumbo with the rest of the turkey. He also asked my son to slow down and eat "other things" so there would be enough turkey left for said gumbo.
I guess that's how a New Orleans boy's mind works.
I specifically remember being young and seeing neighbors bring my grandfather turkey carcasses after Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always thought that was completely normal, and I now realize that it may be a little strange to people that are not from Louisiana to think of bringing your neighbor your picked over bones. Walking out of your house in the morning and people yelling across the street, "Hey man, I got a turkey carcass for ya, I'll bring it by later".
Either way, strange or not, as a kid I loved hearing those words because I knew what was coming next- my grandpa's amazing gumbo.
As I got older and started making gumbo on my own, I took what I loved from Pee Paw's gumbo (my mom's dad) and MoMo's gumbo (my dad's mom) and created my own version. That version was the first recipe that ever got me to a cooking contest, on Food Network of all places, and introduced me to competition cooking. There I made my Chicken, Tasso and Andouille Gumbo
This one is very similar, and I'll show you every step along the way to make it. Get a glass of wine, roll up your sleeves and get ready. While absolutely delicious, this is a bit labor intensive but totally worth every minute!
This is when I take help from my slow cooker. I remove and discard the skin and fat from the turkey, take off any excess breast meat and store it in the fridge, and break down the bones to fit in the slow cooker. Add the neck, 1 large onion cut in half, 2 stalks celery, 3 carrots, 5 garlic cloves, 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, a healthy amount of salt (don't be stingy), a bay leaf and the stems from 1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley (you'll use the tops later in the gumbo) and cover everything with water. I let this go, on low all night long.
The next day when I was ready to start the roux I got out my gumbo pot. It's not pretty or fancy, but it's what MoMo gave me, and somehow that makes it taste better.
I heat 1 cup of vegetable oil over medium heat and add the cubed Andouille and fry it until nicely browned and crisp. I know this is not standard procedure for most, but I do this for a few reasons. First of all, sausage is always better browned and crispy; secondly, while you fry the sausage you are also flavoring the oil which then is used to make your roux.
Once the sausage is nice and crispy, remove it from the oil and start your roux. I cook my roux until it's a shade between peanut butter and milk chocolate. This usually can be achieved in the time it takes me to finish 1-1 1/2 glasses of wine.
You can thank me later for figuring out the math on that one for you
As soon as your roux reaches your desired color add all the chopped vegetables and stand back. The pot will sizzle and hiss like no other. It will sound alarming, but this is a good thing. While the vegetables cook, strain the stock that you've been making in your slow cooker. Discard all the seasonings and reserve the meat to add in later. Once the vegetables cook for 20 minutes and soften you add your stock, Andouille and seasonings and allow it to simmer at least 2 hours. Sometimes I'll add this back to the slow cooker so I don't have to babysit it.
Remember that roux you made earlier? It's essentially a cup of oil that you flavored with Andouille and then cooked your flour in. After you add the liquids to the pot, the oil that you used to make your roux will separate and rise to the top. Skim it off using a spoon and use it to fry your okra. I am a lucky girl and have a very nice friend that shared her fresh okra with me, but frozen works just fine as well.
Slice the okra and fry it in the oil, stirring constantly until the okra no longer has the slime you see falling off the spoon before adding it to your pot. No one wants slimy gumbo and this step is essential in making sure that doesn't happen.
Once the okra has been cooked and the gumbo has simmered 2 hours, add the okra, turkey, parsley and green onion to the pot. Simmer for 1 hour before serving.
Turkey and Andouille Gumbo
While gumbo is simmering, cook okra on medium heat until no longer stringy. Add turkey, okra, green onion, parsley and salt and pepper, to taste and simmer 1 hour. Serve with rice, hot sauce and file powder to taste.
This recipe is up for voting HERE and I would love it if you could take a moment and vote for it! My recipe is in the running for Butterball's Cookbook Plus Blogger Contest for a chance to win a $500 Amex gift card and have a feature recipe inside the Butterball Cookbook Plus app!