It doesn’t take much to transform a leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a show-stopping Thanksgiving Turkey Gumbo. In New Orleans Classic Gumbos and Soups (Pelican 2009), Kit Wohl presents dozens of sumptuous and straightforward soup, gumbo, and bisque recipes from the city’s finest chefs and restaurants, including entries that help the holiday home cook make the most from leftovers. Leftover Thanksgiving turkey becomes Turkey and Sausage Gumbo in a snap.
The book highlights the spectacular versatility and comfort offered by New Orleans’ gumbos, soups, and bisques, drawing deserved attention to the Crescent City and its unique and inimitable culinary offerings. “When you get right down to it,” Wohl writes in Gumbos, “there’s nothing more New Orleans than a terrific bowl of seafood gumbo.”
Ready for a season of holiday festivities, New Orleans Classic Gumbos and Soups offers recipes suited for large group entertaining, not to mention a wide variety of heart-warming, hearty and comforting dishes as the chill of the fall starts to set in. The book, selected by Gourmet magazine as their February cookbook club selection, was also a featured Alternate for the Good Cook® Book Club.
Wohl, an artist and author of six cookbooks celebrating classic New Orleans cuisine, has worked with chefs, restaurants and hotels across the United States. Wohl’s second book, New Orleans Classic Desserts, is now in its fifth printing. The P&J Oyster Cookbook, pays tribute to the city’s first family of oysters and their recipes.
For each of her cookbooks, Kit chooses recipes from the repertoires of a wide range of restaurant kitchens and professional chefs. Each recipe is tested after it is adapted to home-kitchen standards, and each dish is illustrated with one of her photographs.
“Cooking is an art and a form of creative expression,” she says. “Food is distinctive in form, color, texture and flavor. The selection, preparation and presentation of a meal are as creative as any art project. Best of all, it nurtures both the body and the spirit.”
Turkey and Sausage Gumbo
Gumbo is one of those exemplary dishes that can be made in any number of ways. The emphasis is on the main ingredients: meats, poultry, seafood or almost any combination of them. Roux and the trinity of seasonings create a smoky, dense taste, rich in texture and full of flavor. In south Louisiana, families get together for holidays and cook up a continuous two- or three-day food fest beginning with visits to the farmers’ markets and grocery stores.
1 whole turkey carcass
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups corn oil, to make roux
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 cans your favorite local beer or an equal amount of stock or water
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce
1 tablespoon corn oil, to sauté sausage
1 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced and then cut crosswise into half-moons
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 gallons chicken and turkey broth, homemade or canned. (This should include the liquid in which the turkey carcass was cooked.)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cooked rice, for serving
Cut the turkey carcass in half and, in a large pot, simmer the halves in water to cover until the remaining meat falls off the bones.
Drain and reserve the cooking water. Remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones. Shred the meat. (If this does not yield 2 to 3 cups of turkey, add any poultry meat.)
In a heavy saucepan, make the roux by heating the 2 cups of corn oil over medium heat, adding the flour and cooking, stirring frequently, until the roux reaches the color of milk chocolate. Be careful not to let it scorch. (Completing the roux will take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Cooking slowly on low heat is the secret to succeeding with roux.)
Add the chopped onions, peppers and celery to the roux. (This will temporarily stop the cooking process.) Cook the roux until the vegetables are tender, stirring constantly. As the vegetables cook, their sugar will be released and the roux will darken even more as the liquid evaporates. Stir in the beer (or stock or water), the Worcestershire and the hot sauce.
In a large Dutch oven or the original soup pot, sauté the sausage and garlic in one tablespoon of oil until the garlic is translucent and soft. Carefully add the roux mixture to the pot, stirring. (It will spit and sputter.)
Add the turkey broth and stir in the basil, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper. I’ve seen Chef Robert add the leftover turkey gravy to the gumbo. Simmer, covered, for one hour, then add the shredded turkey and cook for 20 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired.
YIELD: 2 gallons
SERVES: 16 to 20
From New Orleans Classic Gumbos & Soups by Kit Wohl, © 2009. Used with permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.