Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mama Ozzy's Creole Turkey, Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo

Happy 2013 and Happy January! Happy Epiphany!

Today is the day I am taking down the Christmas tree.  When I was growing up we always put the tree up on December 6 (St Nicholas Day) and took it down on January 6 (The twelfth day of Christmas and Epiphany).  I find that interesting since both of my parents were atheists and we never attended church, but still observed more of the liturgical calendar than many of our practicing Christian neighbors whose tree would be at the side of the road at 7am on December 26, often with the tinsel still clinging to it!  These traditions have stuck in my psyche and even to this day I still honor and observe these days.

I have to be honest, I am always a little happy when the holidays are over, the decorations packed away for another year and life begins to return to normal.  After the excesses of November and December it's time to get back to the basics.  And for this reason I have decided to devote the month of January to posting some of my favorite soup recipes.

There is just something so honest and comforting about a pot of homemade soup simmering away on the stove top.  Particularly if you are making your own stock.  We were lucky enough to receive an entire Greenburg smoked turkey in the mail from friends of ours.  It was the best damn turkey I have ever eaten.  You can buy them here.

After stripping all the meat from the turkey, we saved the carcass in the freezer.  Today I took it out and am making turkey stock with it for this soup.  It smells incredible in the house!

Whenever I roast a turkey or chicken I always use the carcass to make stock.  It is the perfect chore for a Sunday afternoon and always makes enough to make a pot of soup and a couple quarts for the freezer.  The process is easy:  Place the carcass in a large stock pot with one onion, halved, a couple stalks of celery and a bay leaf.  Fill with COLD water enough to submerge the carcass, and heat on high until the stock just begins to bubble.  Immediately lower the heat to maintain a slow simmer and leave it alone except to skim any foam from the top.  No need to stir.  4 hours later, strain the stock and discard the solids.  Easy.

I have been making this simple gumbo for about as long as I can remember and it is really delicious.  Cajun cooking has only a few rules:  1.)  Always use the Creole/Cajun variation of mirepoix called "The Trinity"; onion, celery and green bell pepper.  This is not negotiable.  2.) You should always use all four colors of pepper: red; green; black; and white.  Green is covered in the trinity, so spices must have cayenne,white pepper and black pepper.  I also use dried thyme, oregano and of course gumbo file powder (powdered dried sassafras leaves).

Thats about it, from there you can take all kinds of liberties.  I like to use turkey, andouille sausage (or kielbasa), shrimp, okra and tomatoes and serve the soup over steamed fluffy white rice with plenty of hot sauce to be added to taste.

Mama Ozzy's Creole Turkey, Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo
serves 8-10

3 Tbsp butter
One large onion, diced finely
3 stalks celery, diced finely
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced finely
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp gumbo file powder
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1  1/2 cup( 12 oz.) beer
8 cups Turkey stock (preferable home made)
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 Tbsp flour
1 lb. frozen sliced okra
2 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb sausage (andouille or kielbasa), cut into bite sized chunks
2 lb chopped turkey meat (smoked if possible)
salt to taste

In a large pot melt butter.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cok over medium high heat until onion is translucent.  Add black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme and file powder to vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

Add canned tomatoes, beer and stock.  Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simer for 30 minutes uncovered.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet combine vegetable oil and flour to make a roux.  Cook roux over medium high heat stirring constantly until the roux turns golden brown.  Remove from heat and add the roux, a little at a time to the soup, stirring until the desired thickness is achieved (you do not have to use all of it).

Add okra, shrimp, sausage and turkey to soup and cook an additional 20 minutes.  Adjust seasonings with salt and black pepper.  Serve hot over steamed rice with your favorite bottled hot sauce.

No comments:

Post a Comment