I always have leftover Turkey after a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. Scrape meat off the bones and make my Gumbo with Leftover Turkey. Gumbo is a Southern soup with veggies and meat. A Gumbo also has darkened flour as its base flavor called a Roux.
A Cajun Gumbo uses almost any kind of meat. I keep it simple by using cooked holiday turkey pieces.
Don't throw away the turkey carcass, I've peeled a lot of meat just from the turkey's back. Use any leftover part of the bird for this recipe.
Go right to making a Roux out of flour. While the Roux is browning chop the Cajun Trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery. For my Gumbo, I like to add garlic and okra, too.
The most complex part of a Gumbo is the Roux. Usually, plain raw flour is cooked until a medium to dark brown, this gives Gumbo its unique nutty flavor and color. Back in the day an equal amount of oil was used to brown the flour. These days I leave oil out. As long as you scrape and stir the flour it will brown fine. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Grocers are starting to carry Roux that is pre-cooked and brown, so you can go right to sauting veggies, then add the pre-cooked Roux. I've made Gumbo using the shortcut grocer method and the long homemade browning version.
A couple of hard-to-find ingredients in my Gumbo with Leftover Turkey can be left out. Filé Powder is dried sassafras leaves. Creole Seasoning is mainly salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne, onion, and garlic powders.
The Cajun Trinity, comprised of bell pepper, celery, and onion, is used in many Southern recipes.
I still get these veggies frequently on sale for less than a dollar.
Okra might not be to everyone's taste as it becomes slimy after cooking for a while, but I like it fine.
Cajuns serve their Gumbo over white steamed rice. I've had it over brown rice and even quinoa.
My Gumbo with Leftover Turkey is best served hot on a cold day. If you are tired of Leftover Turkey Sandwiches or a plate of reheated dried-out sliced turkey with soggy sides, then go for my satisfying and filling Gumbo with Leftover Turkey.
Gumbo with Leftover Turkey - VIDEO Play it here, video runs 4 minutes, 31 seconds.
My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.
Ingredients (4 to 6 servings)
- 3/4 Cup Flour - for a Roux. Takes about 20 minutes to brown.
- Leftover Turkey - about 2 pounds. I used a wing plus a mix of dark and white meat.
- 1 Onion - chopped
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon.
- 1 Bell Pepper - chopped.
- Celery - about 2 chopped ribs.
- Okra - about 12 pieces. I slice okra depending on how large they are. Okay to leave a few whole.
- Creole Seasoning - 1 teaspoon. Creole seasoning is usually a combination of salt, paprika or chile powder, dried garlic, and onion.
- Black Pepper - 1 teaspoon. Creole Seasoning has enough salt for my tastes.
- Filé powder - 1 teaspoon, optional. Filé is dried sassafras leaf powder.
- Water - 8 cups. Okay to add the extra cup while cooking to reach a thinner Gumbo. For a thicker Gumbo simmer uncovered about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Steamed Rice - I usually steam a cup or two of rice. Add to the bottom of the bowl when serving Gumbo - white or brown rice.
*A large raw turkey leg can be used if you don't want to cook a whole holiday bird. You should cook a raw turkey leg for about 2 hours in the Gumbo broth until tender. Then remove the leg and peel off the meat, finally return it to the Gumbo to reheat.
Add flour to a large pot over medium saute to make a Roux. This gives Gumbo its brown color and nutty flavor. I use a non-oil method. Most Roux recipes call for an equal amount of oil to flour.
You need to stir the flour until it is medium to dark brown, about 20 minutes.
(And if you want to speed things up then buy a pre-made Roux from the grocery store.)
You can chop onion, bell pepper, celery, okra, and garlic while Roux is browning.
Sprinkle on Cajun Seasoning (or salt), and black pepper.
Add Gumbo Filé, which are dried sassafras leaves ground into powder. Okay to leave this out as it may be hard to find.
Now add the cooked turkey. Add 8 cups of water. Mix well and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer or low boil, then cover and cook for 1 hour.
*If you are using raw Turkey, increase cooking time to about 2 hours or until Turkey is tender.
*If you are using cooked whole Turkey pieces then remove skin and bones after simmering, and shred Turkey into bite-size pieces. Return Turkey to Gumbo to reheat before serving.
If you like a thicker Gumbo broth, simmer it uncovered for about half an hour.
I like to serve cooked rice with Gumbo. During the last half hour of cooking, you can start your rice. Cook according to package directions.
When Gumbo with Leftover Turkey is ready add cooked rice to a bowl or plate and spoon on the Gumbo.
Gumbo with Leftover Turkey can simmer on the stovetop for extra time, as the longer it cooks the better.
Okra falls apart after an hour, but that's okay as it will help thicken the Gumbo. It's okay to add the okra during the last half hour of cooking if you like it less mushy.
My Gumbo with Turkey Leftovers can be made with regular chicken pieces, too.