Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gobbledy Good Turkey Gumbo

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I enjoy taking the some dedicated time to reflect on the many ways God has blessed me and my family.

I was also particularly excited to prepare the feast this year because I haven't been in the kitchen much lately with all of the home renovation going on.

We, of course, had the traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings.  On Thanksgiving night, I made a turkey stock with the carcass and lots of onions and celery and simmered it for several hours.  I knew I wanted to make a gumbo with some of the turkey leftovers.

Traditionally, gumbo is made with a nice, dark roux.  Roux (pronounced "roo") is nothing more than a combination of fat (vegetable oil, in the case of gumbo) and flour in roughly equal proportions.  Roux is used to thicken and flavor a sauce or soup.  The lighter the roux, the milder the taste and the more thickening power it lends to the finished dish.  The roux for gumbo is dark, sometimes as dark as mahogany-colored.  I like mine to be a little darker than peanut butter, because it is difficult to get the darkest color without burning it.

Traditional roux made with oil
After all of the rich food from Thanksgiving, I decided to make a lower-fat version of gumbo that I have recently perfected.  A typical gumbo recipe has a cup of oil: that's more than 1900 calories!  We certainly didn't need those calories after all of the pumpkin pie and stuffing we have consumed lately.  My mom and her ancestors have French Canadian roots, and my grandmother used to make roux for an apple gravy (that goes with duck) using this method.  I decided to try it for gumbo, and it was a great success!

First, brown a cup of flour in a cast iron skillet in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.  The color you are going for is somewhere around the color of peanut butter.  Note that this is very...shall we say...aromatic!  Make sure you have your exhaust fan on because it does have quite a nutty smell.

I browned 2 cups of flour because I plan on making the duck with apple gravy recipe sometime around New Years.  The browned flour keeps for several months in an airtight container.

As you can see, there are quite a few lumps, so sift the cooled flour.

Next, combine 2 cups of cold turkey stock and add it to the 1 cup of browned flour, making a slurry.  Set aside.

Next, saute your veggies (called the Holy Trinity in New Orleans: onions, celery, and bell pepper) in about a tablespoon or two of canola oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat or until clear.

Add a couple of cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Next, add the turkey stock and bring to a simmer.  Homemade stock is really the way to go with gumbo and soups, but you could use canned broth in a pinch.

Next, add the roux slurry to the bubbling stock and whisk well.

Add a pound of your favorite smoked sausage, sliced, and simmer for about 15 minutes..  I used Chisesi green onion sausage, which is my favorite New Orleans brand.

 If you want to cut the fat even more, you could use a smoked turkey sausage.

Add the leftover roasted turkey chunks (about 2 1/2 cups) and heat through, about 5 or 10 minutes.

If you want, you can also add okra.  I like canned okra because it is "de-slimed" and adds some color and a different texture.  I have previously tried using frozen okra and just don't like how it changes the viscosity.  Or leave it out, your call.

Serve over steamed white rice and garnish with green onions.

Reduced Fat Turkey and Sausage Gumbo
(click here to print)

8 cups homemade turkey stock (use leftover carcass) or canned low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup flour
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
2 1/2 cups leftover roasted turkey chunks
1 tsp. creole seasoning or to taste
14 oz. can sliced okra, optional
several dashes tabasco sauce

Brown the flour in a cast iron frying pan in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.  Stir frequently until evenly browned and about the color of peanut butter.  Remove to cool, then sift.  Combine the dry browned flour with 2 cups of cold turkey stock and whisk to a slurry.  Set aside.

Saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper in oil over medium heat until clear, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two.  Add the remaining 6 cups turkey stock and bring to a simmer.  Add the slurry and whisk well, then add the sausage and simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes.  Add the turkey chunks and heat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, then add the creole seasoning, tabasco, and okra (if using).  Heat through and serve over fluffy white rice.

Gobble it down!

Linking to:

Hunk of Meat Mondays
Mangia Mondays
Tuesday Talent Show

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Drastic Change

As mentioned in my last few posts, we have been in the throes of home improvement.  My wood floors were officially finished on November 8 but it has taken this long for some of the dust (and mental fog) to clear so that I can post a few pics.

Let me preface by saying that I have been saving for new floors for four long years.  You know how you have a vision of what something is going to look like and then the reality doesn't quite match?  That's kinda where I am.  I love the variable width of the planks and the true handscraping of the boards.  The wood tone, though, is different than what I was envisioning.  We went with engineered so couldn't customize, but I knew I didn't want espresso or chocolate brown because it would be too dark for me.  The stains that were lighter looked somewhat washed out.  I was going for a medium brown.  Let's just say that tears were shed and I have beat myself up a lot over the past week or so with woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Now you know why I suffer from Analysis Paralysis.

I think the shock of going from light to dark has just thrown me a little lot.  These are beautiful, rich floors!  As you can see from the Before pics, my family room was very monotone.  In that sense, I think the wood helps to warm things up.   I will need to buy some rugs (what kind??) and My Man said we can buy some new furniture pieces for the family room.  I guess I should be excited by that but I just don't want to think about it anymore right now.  I guess I don't do well with drastic change.

What do you think?

Here are some more views in other rooms.  Ignore my lack of staging because I haven't gotten anything everything back in order yet:

Master bedroom looking into foyer
Dining Room
Guest bedroom
I know in my head that I am SO BLESSED to have such a beautiful home and I refuse to let this be the winter of my discontent.  But I feel a little heartsick because I was hoping everything would look pulled together and "done" like I see every day on so many beautiful blogs.  I think I have more work to do.

For what it's worth, My Man and and children love the color!  I don't hate it, I just think everything looks so DARK now.  The gloomy weather we have been having lately hasn't helped.

Enlighten me!  Please!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tile Update

This is for my friend Lisa who has the flu and can't come by to see our new and improved kitchen and bath tile.  They're not the best pics because of the lighting, but you can get the idea.

20x20 inch porcelain tile - Artemis Castello Bianco
 The pictures below are probably closer to the color.  There are grey, cream and beige tones.

I am loving this lightened up look!  And the larger tiles are fabulous.  Can't wait to get back to my life, though.  We still have the wood floor installation to go (starting tomorrow).

Wish us luck!  I'm hoping to find an electrical floor outlet under the carpeting since we have such a huge den.  Wouldn't that be nice?