Here are two true things:

1. I forgot my password to be able to log-in and comment on the website

2. I don’t have anything to write about

And so I bring you a special installment of “Joie d’Eve” (I did not name this blog myself, for the record) in which I answer/address reader comments.


Wish_I_Still_Lived_In_NOLA writes: “Although I have an electronic copy in more than one place (can't ever be too prepared for a hard drive failure), be sure to provide your Leftover Thanksgiving Gumbo recipe (from the Gumbo pages?). It is a great recipe! And now ‘my’ tradition! Due to in-law/New England palette constraints, our Thanksgiving is more Des Moines vs. New Orleans. But I make sure that I have all the ‘leftover’ ingredients ready to go for the gumbo. Wishing you & your family a happy & healthier Thanksgiving this year!”

Thanks so much, Wish_I_Still_Lived_In_NOLA! Making this gumbo was definitely a tradition I clung to fiercely when I lived in the Midwest, and the best part is that most of the ingredients can be found in any grocery store, no matter how far away from New Orleans you are.

The recipe did originate from Gumbo Pages, but I’ve changed it a fair amount over the years. My most recent two tweaks are to eliminate bacon fat from the roux and to replace the pork sausage with turkey sausage; both changes are in deference to My Best Friend Hank.


Leftover Turkey Gumbo

  • 6 quarts of turkey stock, made the night before
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oil with a high smoke point (I used to use bacon fat, but now I use peanut or canola oil)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions with tops, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped (leaves too)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds okra, sliced (I just use the frozen pre-sliced stuff)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (skip this, obviously, if the fact that I even listed it as an option fills you with murderous rage)
  • Leftover turkey meat, chopped
  • 1 pound turkey sausage, sliced and browned
  • Tony Chachere’s or your preferred Cajun seasoning, to taste

I like to make the stock the night before and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, it’s easy to just lift off the lid of congealed fat; I’ve found that this makes the gumbo far less greasy and less likely to separate when you add in the roux. After you take the fat off, start the stock simmering so that it will be hot when you’re ready to add the roux-and-veg mix.

Make the roux by blending the oil and flour together and stirring constantly until it’s as dark as you like. I have achieved peak Louisiana before while making a roux, drinking an Abita, and watching the LSU game simultaneously.

When the roux is at the point you want it, dump in all of your chopped vegetables together and stir for about 10 minutes before adding the whole thing to the hot stock. Add the bay leaves and the okra, and let cook for about 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes at this point too if you’re not horrified by the idea of tomatoes in gumbo. (I personally am a fan, and this is my recipe, so.)

Add the turkey and sausage, let cook for 10 minutes, and then season to taste with Cajun seasoning and salt and pepper.

Serve over rice or potato salad with Tabasco/Crystal on the table for those who want it hotter. Also good served with lots of crusty bread.

So there it is, and I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving, too, even if it is in Des Moines.

Howie Gro writes:When you start your article with your ‘existential despair’ over the presidential election, then you lose me as a reader.”

I’m sorry to hear that, Howie Gro, but I can’t imagine that I’ve ever had you as a reader if that is what put you off. I’ve been writing weekly here for almost a decade, and I’ve never been anything but a navel-gazing, hand-wringing, politically correct Democrat. Believe it or not, though, I have friends and family all across the political spectrum, and we all love and respect one another. Anyway, if you’re still reading here (and I trust that you’re not), I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Finally, my beloved husband, not even attempting to use a pseudonym and somehow managing to remember his log-in to comment even if he can never remember which night is trash night, writes that I should make “SOMETHING WITH SHRIMP” for Thanksgiving.

To that, I have a very easy answer. And that answer is no. Shrimp are slimy and disgusting and taste like bleach and have the texture of a snow tire. So no.

But honey, I hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving, bless your heart. XOXO