African-Creole Turkey Gumbo

By Beacon Staff

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and once the festivities are all said and done we are faced with the same question every year: “What do we do with all the leftovers?”

And while I really love a good turkey cranberry sandwich, after day two and sandwich four or five I’m ready for something different, something that will polish off that turkey for good.

That’s when I like to reach for the family gumbo recipe and start experimenting. I love the versatility of gumbo, aside from a few vital ingredients it can be made with almost anything.

Incorporating some of my favorite African ingredients, this spicy version is one of my all time favorites.

Before getting started you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 small white onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Anaheim chile, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen okra, sliced
  • 1 lb. Andouille sausage, cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lbs. leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat, cubed
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled
  • 4 T Creole seasoning
  • 4 T curry powder
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1 T gumbo file (sassafras powder)
  • Louisiana hot sauce
  • 4 spring onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

First, mix your onion, celery and both peppers together. Next, place a heavy-bottomed stock pot or casserole on your stove over medium-low heat and add the oil.

Heat the oil for three to four minutes then slowly whisk in the flour to make a roux. Reduce heat to low and cook the roux, stirring with a wooden spoon ever two to three minutes, until it has the color of peanut butter or slightly darker.

When the roux has reached the desired color, increase the heat to medium and add the andouille sausage, okra, bay leaf, half the powdered seasonings and 3/4 of the vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened but with no color.

Now add the chicken stock, the remaining seasoning and the garlic and bring to a boil.

Once it boils reduce the heat to low and simmer for two to three hours, stirring as you go to keep it from burning on the bottom.

About 15 to 20 minutes before serving add the leftover turkey and the shrimp to the pot. At this point you will need to season a bit more with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

This depends mostly on the type of Creole seasoning you use because some tend to be very salty and not nearly spicy enough.

I like to serve this over steamed white rice, garnished with the spring onions, parsley and a nice crusty piece of French bread.

Enjoy!

This column originally appeared in an Oct. 26, 2011 edition of the Beacon.

Joshua Auerhammer is the chef/owner at the Culinary Design Studio in Bigfork.

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