Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Gumbo is misunderstood, especially in the North. Accounts vary in Louisiana, town by town and home by home. But to my Lafayette family, it is a hearty soup and not a thick stew. Because it is soup it is eaten with a scoop of rice, not as a thick sauce poured over rice. Sometimes a sly Cajun might even throw a scoop of creamy potato salad in their gumbo, but don't tell anyone I let you Yanks in on that secret! The Friday after Thanksgiving, our home smells like a turkey carcass gently simmering with bay leaves, onion, garlic, and black pepper. Gumbo is enough work that we only really make it on holidays or when guests are coming. But it freezes well and is always sure to wow!
Ingredients Base 1/2 lb sliced andouille (or other smoked) sausage 1 med diced onion 1 diced cubanelle or poblano pepper 1 large stalk celery, also diced 2 large cloves garlic, minced 8oz frozen okra
1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup flour
Herbs 1 bunch parsley & 1 bunch green onions, chopped. 1tbsp chopped thyme 1lbish leftover turkey meat, chopped 1/4 cup turkey fat 1//4 cup flour 2 qt turkey stock 2 tbsp Worcestershire (search my recipe for homemade in The Handcrafted Larder Facebook group) 1/4 cup cognac, sherry, or brandy (more for the chef) Brown your andouille ( or other smoked sausages) over medium-high heat in a 6 qt stockpot. Add all your vegetables and cook till glassy. Deglaze with sherry. In a steep-sided stockpot, sherry should not catch fire. Best be ready with a sturdy lid, just in case. If it does catch you'll have to decide whether to extinguish it with a lid or just let the alcohol burn off if there is no danger of scorching a low ceiling! While your sausage and veg are cooking, heat your butter in a small skillet. Add your flour as soon as the butter stops bubbling. This "roux" is a basic thickener for many French, English, and Cajun dishes. A darker roux has more nutty flavor but less thickening ability and a lighter one thickens more and is better for delicate chicken or fish sauces. Roux in gumbo is about flavor and not thickening so go as dark as you can without burning it. Your finished roux should be the same color as a Hershey bar! It will take about 10-15 minutes on low heat to get the right color. You'll need to stir it pretty constantly or it will not brown evenly. So while you can certainly multitask, it's best to do this after all the vegetables and sausage are in the other pot. While your roux is browning, add half the herbs, Worcestershire, and turkey to the sausage to the sausage and veggies in the stock pot. Simmer for 10 min or until you can't smell the sherry. Season with salt and fresh black pepper and add the remaining herbs before serving. Serve with gumbo filé, a scoop of rice, plenty of hot sauce, and - bonus points - a shot of sherry.