After the festivities have finished, the noise has quieted down, the last verse of Auld Lang Syne sung and the party guests hugged and wished success for the coming year, it is time for serving them a thick bowl of gumbo made with the leftover turkey saved from the Christmas day meal and some of that wonderful smoked sausage received as a gift. The roux or the gravy like base is not hard to make and the spicy cayenne pepper can be used sparingly for those guests suffering from digestion problems.
Gumbo is the African word for okra and when the French settlers came to Louisiana. They were not able to find the ingredients for their saffron fish stew or bouillabaisse. Therefore, they hunted for wild game, fished the rivers, raised poultry and pigs curing the pork for sausage. Traditionally, large pots of it were served communally beginning twelve days after Christmas and ending at the stroke of midnight on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.
Into a large non-stick cold skillet, add one tablespoon of light butter turning up the heat to medium-low letting it slightly brown. Remove the browned butter from the heat and add one tablespoon of flour. Return to the heat stirring the ingredients constantly until the flour is completely incorporated into the butter. The finished color should be dark like mud.
(Serves 4-bowls, or 6-cups)
4-cups turkey, precooked
1-link smoked sausage, sliced
1/2-cup onion, chopped
1/2-cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2-cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2-cup parsley, chopped
3-cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-small can stewed tomatoes, pureed
8-whole okra, fresh or frozen, (rinsed and the tops and bottoms removed)cut into slices
1-cup chicken broth
1/2-tsp cayenne pepper
1/2-tsp black pepper
Directions: Remove the cooked roux from the heat and add the chopped onion, the garlic, the peppers and the okra. Stir in the seasonings and add the water and the chicken broth. Add the turkey and the sausage. Simmer on medium-low and when the ingredients are thickened or stew like add the pureed tomatoes and the parsley. Cook for fifteen more minutes. Ladle over a mound of white rice. Serve with slices of crusty French bread.
Salad for Gumbo:
1-cucumber, peeled and sliced into halves
1-medium ripe avocado, sliced and cut into halves
3-or 4-green onions, sliced
4-sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
4-stalks celery, cut into pieces-1/2-inches wide
1/2-pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
2-Tlbs olive oil
1-Tlb red wine vinegar
Directions: Lightly toss the salad ingredients and the dressing until they are combined.
Cooking since the age of fifteen, the Author has always enjoyed preparing holiday meals.