Don’t Throw Out That Turkey Carcass! Gumbo

Don't throw out that turkey carcass--make gumbo!

Don’t throw out that turkey carcass–make gumbo!


1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup bacon fat (or vegetable oil)

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts (save the green for garnish)

1 large green pepper, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

14 ounces of smoked sausage, cut into rounds (I used polska kielbasa but andouille is more gumbo-authentic)

4 cups of shredded turkey meat from the carcass, white and dark meat

1 picked-over turkey breast carcass (14-16 lb.)

12 cups of chicken stock (enough to cover carcass in your large stock pot)

2 bay leaves

1 bunch flat Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons thyme (dried or fresh)

3 tablespoons filé powder

Salt and pepper to taste (don’t underestimate the need for salt, start with a healthy pinch and taste and correct as your gumbo cooks down)

Hot sauce for the table

Steamed white rice to accompany


Heat the bacon fat til hot but not smoking in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot and add the flour, whisking constantly.  Cook the roux at medium-high heat for 10 minutes, whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn.  Roux should be a caramel color.

Add the chopped onions and sauté until softened.  Add celery and green pepper and sauté until softened.  Add the chopped garlic and sauté (do not let garlic scorch.)  Add the rounds of sausage and sauté til browned.

Add the turkey carcass.  (My carcass was just the breast because I braised the Thanksgiving turkey legs separately and those bones were gone.)  Smash it down somewhat in the pot and add the chicken stock.  (I used the braising liquid leftover from the turkey legs and added Swanson’s chicken broth to top it off. )

Add the leftover turkey meat. Add the bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours.

Remove the carcass.  Taste and adjust the seasonings (add more salt, pepper, thyme).  Add the chopped parsley. Add 3 tablespoons of filé powder and simmer slowly, stirring until slightly thickened.

Serve over white rice, with your family’s favorite hot sauce on the side.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *