Great Leftover Turkey Recipe- Turkey Bone Gumbo

by RC on November 28, 2008

What do you do with the leftover turkey and carcass from Thanksgiving? Make turkey gumbo, of course! More than just turkey soup, its a great way to use all of the turkey with little waste, and is a great alternative to turkey sandwiches.

This recipe was originally printed in the Times Picayune (the local New Orleans newspaper) a few years ago, and my family and I have been making it almost every year since. I lost my original copy of the recipe, but luckily one of my family members had it written down. It is called “turkey bone gumbo“, due to the fact that it gets its incredible flavor from the delicious stock made from the leftover turkey bones, but it could also be called turkey sausage gumbo.

Hope you enjoy!

Turkey Bone Gumbo

For the stock (should make about 8 cups):

1 turkey carcass
3 ribs of celery, cut into 4 inch pieces
2 med. onions, quartered
Enough water to cover the carcass (should be about a gallon)
2 tsp. of salt
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 bay leaves

Place the carcass in a large pot. Add the onions, celery, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for two hours. Remove from heat, and skim off ant oil or fat that has risen to the top. Strain through a large fine mesh strainer. Save any meat that has fallen off, and pick off any remaining meat that is left. Save the onions and celery for use in the recipe as well.

For the gumbo:

3/4 cu. vegetable oil
3/4 cu. all purpose flour
1 1/2 cu. chopped onions
1 cu. chopped bell pepper
1/2 cu. chopped celery
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional-if too hot)
1/2 lb. smoked sausage, chopped
8 cups turkey stock
1 1/2 lbs. turkey meat plus any leftover from making the stock
Onions and celery leftover from making stock (chopped)
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped

In a large pot (cast iron, if available) combine the oil and flour to make a roux. Slowly and constantly stir the mixture about 20 to 25 minutes, until it is a dark brown (chocolate) color. (Note-many people find making a roux difficult-if you burn it you have to start over, here is a good tutorial on making a roux) Add the salt, cayenne, bell pepper, onions and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes, again stirring frequently. Add the stock and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the turkey meat and reserved onions and celery and cook for 15 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions.

Serve in a bowl over rice.


Image by JaseMan

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

frugalscholar November 28, 2008 at 8:34 pm

This sounds right to me. Do serve with hot sauce and chopped scallions if you have them.


RC December 1, 2008 at 6:40 am

@ frugalscholar- Sounds good to me, Thanks!


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