Soup Weather | Turkey Bone Gumbo with andouille sausage

Down here in Central Texas, the climate has lulled us into a quiet confidence that cold weather may never arrive. It's this way every year. We have a little cold snap that makes us feel like we're one of you guys, only to have temperatures reach the mid-eighties the week of a well known AUTUMN holiday.

It's a little depressing.

But just when we lose all hope of ever having seasonal weather, another cool breeze comes along and we pull out our woolens and unpack the down comforters and change the menu. It's soup weather.

In my tiny little kitchen in my charming, old, drafty house, it's a matter of necessity. The steaming, fragrant, simmering pot of soup serves to warm both my body and soul, and by dinnertime, my tummy, too.

The secrets to really good post-holiday turkey gumbo
Maggie C. Perkins, Austin American-Statesman 
Last week, I had the honor of talking turkey with the Austin American-Statesman. Turkey Bone Gumbo, that is. You can read the article in its entirety here, including my secrets for creating a rich, hearty gumbo any day of the year that will have friends and family, alike, clamoring for more. Be sure to refer to the article for the best tips, tricks, and steps to create a savory simmering pot all your own, and the story behind mine, the recipe for which you'll find below.

Turkey Bone Gumbo
Serves 6

Perhaps my favorite dish of the holiday season comes the day after each, if I can wrestle the remaining carcass from the family dinner table. While folks line up early to catch Black Friday or After Christmas sales, you’ll find me in the kitchen, humming along to my favorite tunes, stirring a steaming pot of gumbo that will be ready just in time for a favorite football game or an old movie. Over the next few days, the flavors will intensify-- these leftovers are the BEST leftovers.


2 large ribs celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
½ cup lard
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2½ quarts turkey stock (see below)
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced on the diagonal
4 cloves garlic, minced
+/- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Turkey meat (reserved from making stock, below)
1 bunch scallions, green tops only, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

It is important to collect and prepare ingredients before beginning cooking. Once the roux is begun, the process goes fast and there is not one appropriate second to look away. So get chopping, and have ingredients ready and set aside, covered, within reach.

Early in the day, or preferably the day before…..

Turkey Stock--
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove any large pieces of remaining turkey meat and reserve, leaving the meat that clings to the bone. Season the carcass with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast turkey bones at 350 degrees, until bones have begun to brown, and any remaining meat is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer roasted bones and any roasting juices to a large stockpot. Add 1 onion, 1 rib of celery, 1 bay leaf, 1T salt, 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns, ½ teaspoon ground oregano, and ½ teaspoon ground thyme. Cover all with water, about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook at a rolling simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, adding additional water as necessary to maintain liquid level. Correct seasonings to taste. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve.

Over medium high heat, melt ½ cup lard. Gradually add ¾ cup flour, whisking constantly to prevent sticking or burning. (Important note: if your roux scorches, toss it and start again. Roux bad, gumbo bad.)

Stirring continually, bring the roux through the darkening stages of brown, about 25-30 minutes. I like mine as dark as you’ll find in a Creole gumbo—mahogany. Some cooks stop at a milk chocolate color. You may want to practice, beginning with milk chocolate brown and working through dark chocolate brown towards mahogany. There’s a sweet spot you’ll come to discover where roux is the darkest brown without scorching at all. (Did you know that the darker a roux, the less thickening ability it holds? Lighter roux thickens more. Darker roux might call for okra in the pot or file powder added to the bowl to aid in thickening.)

Once the roux has developed to the preferred color, carefully add the chopped ‘trinity’ of bell pepper, celery, and onion. This serves to cool the (scorching hot!) roux. Stirring constantly, (this is when I trade my trusty whisk for my trusty roux spoon) cook until vegetables have wilted and are transparent.

Add stock, garlic, andouille sausage, and Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a hard, rolling boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook at a rolling simmer for 45 minutes. Add the reserved turkey meat, parsley, and green onions to the pot, simmering an additional 15 minutes.  Correct seasoning to taste. Allow to cool a bit before ladling into soup bowls, traditionally over cooked white rice.

FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Duck Sausage & Dijon-glazed Sweet Potatoes | Maggie C. Perkins

Autumn has finally arrived in Central Texas, and markets are teeming with favored flavors of fall.

Well, let me qualify that. It's in the upper eighties and we're experiencing stifling humidity this week. But we Texans place our pumpkins on the porch and pray for the occasional cool snap just to keep hope alive. They say we'll have one this week. We'll see.

In the early days of my farmers market and farmstand shopping, I frequently purchased items that caught my fancy, then got home and had no clue how to optimize my selections. Often, they languished until they were tossed. I had the best of intentions, but my follow through was dismal.

It was this repeated experience which encouraged me to utilize my chef demos at the farmers market to help shoppers make the most of their market basket haul. Four times a month, I set out for the Texas Farmers' Markets as their market chef, without a recipe or a menu in mind, scour the stalls for the best farmers and vendors have to offer, and pull together a quick, wholesome seasonal dish on the fly.

This particular dish, a FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE, showcases duck from Belle Vie Farm, vegetables from Johnson's Backyard Garden, and seasonings from Stellar Gourmet, Austin Honey Company, and Hill Country Provisions & Iron.

While these favorite staples are available at local Central Texas markets only, I encourage you to both reach out to the links provided to inquire about mail order availability, and seek farmers, producers, and vendors in your area to support. Buy Local, Eat Local.

Duck Sausage with Dijon-glazed Sweet Potatoes
Market Chef Maggie Perkins

1 T duck fat
1 package Belle Vie Farm Charles’ Picnic Duck Sausage
1 large sweet potato, sliced in thin rounds
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 small head cabbage, leaves separated
2T Stellar Gourmet Fig Dijon Mustard
1T Austin Honey Co. Pure Honey
Hill Country Provisions & Iron Vaquero Sol seasoning to taste

In a shallow skillet over medium heat, melt duck fat. Brown sausages on each side over medium until golden. Remove from heat and reserve.

Add sweet potatoes to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Sauté slices until slightly crisped, turning frequently. Add scallions to pan and continue to sauté until scallions are limp. Nestle sausages into bed of sweet potatoes and onions, reduce heat to medium, cover with cabbage leaves.

Allow cabbage leaves to steam until limp. Remove to a serving plate. Remove sausage and set aside.
Add mustard and honey to the pan with sweet potatoes and onions. Stir together and allow to simmer with potatoes over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until glazed, stirring frequently. Season with Vaquero Sol, to taste.

Slice duck sausage. Plate sweet potatoes and onions onto the cabbage-lined plate. Nestle sliced sausage into bed of potatoes.

And speaking of cooler weather cooking, check out my drawwwl chatting up food columnist Addie Broyles about biscuits, soups, stews, and GUMBO in the recent I Love You So Much podcast, for the Austin American Statesman. You'll be treated to some of Austin's favorite icons as well. Author Jesse Sublett and Esther's Follies co-founder and performer Shannon Sedwick talk about their new book about the 40-year-old Austin institution, Out & About (Michael Barnes) gives a peak of the new Central Austin Public Library, and Eric Webb chats all things Stranger, season 2. Find it on iTunes, your podcast app of choice, or here on Austin360.

Salad greens are truly at their peak during cooler days of autumn and their peppery herbal finish is complemented by the in-season frutis and vegetables available now. Persimmon gives this salad a sweet, earthy nudge, while fig flavors lend a sweetly acidic note. On Sunday last at Texas Farmers' Market, I tossed together luscious freshly-cut field greens, radishes, scallions, and shaved fennel with a Vanilla Fig Persimmon Dijon dressing that pleased eager market samplers. Check back tomorrow for the details on Notes from Maggie's Farm.

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