If you're lucky enough to have two turkey carcasses, use both. This gets better after it sits in the refrigerator for a day. Serve over cooked rice.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 cooked turkey carcass, with whatever meat is still attached, plus all available scraps such as the neck (not the giblets) and wing tips
- 3 quarts chicken stock or water
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound cooked andouille or smoked sausage, sliced into 1-inch disks
- 2 scallions, mostly light-green parts and about an inch of the white parts, chopped
- 2 to 3 cups cooked long-grain rice, warmed
- File powder (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium to medium-low heat, combining the oil and flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make as dark a roux as you can without burning it. (The heat can be higher, but you must stir more assiduously to avoid burning it.) When the roux is medium-dark, reduce the heat to low and add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook them in the roux until the onions are clear and have begun to brown a little, about 10 minutes. Add the turkey bones and meat to the pot, along with the chicken stock or water, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, bay leaves and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about an hour. While it's simmering, occasionally skim fat from the surface.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat the andouille or sausage to remove excess fat. Drain on paper towels, and then add the sausage to the gumbo pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer the gumbo, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 hours (it improves with time). Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Using tongs, transfer the turkey bones from the pot to a work surface. Strip off all the meat from the bones and return the meat to the pot, discarding the bones. Add the scallions and simmer for 3 to 4 more minutes to lose their crispness. Check seasonings and adjust to taste.
To serve, put about 1/2 cup of fluffy cooked rice in individual bowls and top with about 1 cup of the gumbo. Sprinkle with file powder, if desired.
Adapted from Tom Fitzmorris, a restaurant critic and radio talk-show host and the author of "New Orleans Food," which was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang after this article appeared.
Tested by Liza Mundy.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.