Turkey Bone Gumbo, or Giving Thanks for Leftovers

brians-gumbo-and-potato-saladHere’s your chance to salvage the last of your Thanksgiving turkey and treat yourself to some real Louisiana gumbo. It’s called Turkey Bone Gumbo because it uses up the last of the foil-ensconced Thanksgiving turkey sitting in your fridge.  There’s enough meat on it to add to the gumbo, and the bones to make a wonderful stock – likely more than enough that is needed for the gumbo.   The extra stock will be a treasure in your freezer to use for soup during the cold months ahead.

This is a New Orleans (really Louisiana, maybe even all of the South) tradition to make turkey and sausage gumbo from leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It is the perfect meal to usher in the Advent Season. Imagine a pot of this simmering away on the stove while you are busy greening the house. Leftover turkey bone stock can be frozen and used throughout the season for quick soups. Advent Lessons and Carols services are always followed up with a pot of gumbo. Delicious tradition!

Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:7

Turkey Bone Gumbo

The Stock  
Make the night before and chill in the fridge.


  • 2 or more bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • The tops and bottoms of 2 ribs celery
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

Pick the meat off of the turkey carcass, leaving a liberal amount of meat clinging to the bones.

If you have a cleaver, hack away at the bones and carcass.

Place the picked off meat in the fridge, and place the carcass in a large stockpot and cover with water.

Begin to bring it to a boil. (For smoked turkey, do not add the skin to the pot – discard it.)

Add to the pot.  Once near a boil, reduce the heat to very low and barely simmer for three hours.

Do not salt or stir the stock.

Strain the stock and cool it.  Discard the bones, meat, and vegetables in the strainer.

The Gumbo
Makes 6 to 10 servings


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb andouille or other smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • Vegetable oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 quarts of the stock, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • A generous half cup chopped green onions (about one bunch)
  • A generous half cup minced parsley
  • Cooked white rice
  • Filé powder (if available)

Prepare the seasoning vegetables, diced ¼ to ½ inch each, and the garlic minced.  Place them all in a bowl and set aside to have ready once your roux is done.

Place the sausage and a little oil in a large Dutch oven and brown over high heat. Remove to a paper towel lined plate as browned.

Pour the fat into a measuring cup, then add sufficient vegetable oil to make ½ cup fat.  Pour the fat back into the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to low.

Add to the oil and stir constantly over low to medium heat to make as dark a roux as you can – preferably a milk chocolate colored one.

Stir the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic into the roux, smell the love, and continue cooking and stirring for several minutes until the vegetables begin to wilt.

Add to the vegetables and the roux, stirring the stock into the roux until well blended before adding the other seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour.

Add a couple heaping cups of the picked off turkey meat, along with the sausage, and simmer for another hour.

Add to the gumbo and simmer a few minutes more.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve the gumbo in bowls over the cooked rice.  Pass the filé at the table, having guests add just a pinch.

Serve with potato salad (see recipe below), or a baked sweet potato.  French bread is a must for mopping the bowl.  A light (unoaked) chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio pairs excellently with this.

Submitted by: Brian Reid from St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans. Brian has contributed recipes that have appeared in The Times-Picayune and other local publications. (With thanks to Karen Mackey, Communications Coordinator, The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.)

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe and a bonus potato salad recipe, visit: www.episcopalchurch.org/Advent Lagniappe, y’all! A little something extra.

Tomorrow: Haitian Beans & Rice


Thankful for Things to Come


Thanksgiving comes in many shapes and sizes. On this day before we celebrate the feast in the United States, a lot of us are thinking about food and its preparation. We may be up to our elbows in cornbread dressing, green bean casseroles, all sorts of potatoes, and pumpkin pie crust and filling.

But traditions vary across the country, so tables will be laden with tamales, exotic rice dishes, a variety of greens – spicy or tame, and special breads and desserts, as well. Instead of turkey, perhaps pork, buffalo, or goat grace Thanksgiving tables. We give thanks for the wonderful, heavenly mix of customs and rituals.

Beginning this Sunday (Advent I), we’ll post a recipe a day, plus a little background on the tradition or memories of the dish and an appropriate verse from scripture or hymns. Let us know if you whip up some of the offerings. Share your experience and photos.

The recipes we’ll be sharing here come from many cultures and regions. Look forward to Black Mushroom Rice, Soup Joumou, and Fried Pork & Plantains from Haiti, Adobong Port, Chicken Arroz Caldo, and Galilea Special Pancit from the Philippines, Roast Buffalo with Cabbage and Manoomin Salad from First Nations Kitchen in Minnesota, and Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya and Boeuf Daube from Louisiana. From Navajoland, we’ll offer recipes for Navajo Fry Bread and Blue Corn Mush. For your sweet tooth be on the lookout for Buckeye Candy from Ohio, Southern Pralines from Georgia, Coffee Cake and Baked Blueberry French Toast from New York. And don’t forget beverages – from the Dominican Republic, Louisiana, and Kansas.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get a jump on things, you’ll find the recipes here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/advent/resources. We’ll add recipes as they become available, so keep checking the resource. You can download and print at your convenience.

So on this day before Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for what’s to come – the food, the memories, the adventure of trying something new or finding a twist on an old favorite.

Oh, and here’s our first tip: Don’t toss those leftover turkey bones. You’ll need them for our first Advent recipe, Turkey Bone Gumbo from Louisiana.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield; Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown. First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear; Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.  ~ from Come Ye Thankful People, Come by Henry Alford, 1844


Stir-up a Christmas Pudding. Then wait.


The star of a memorable Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom is the Christmas pudding. And while it’s not yet Christmas, tradition has it that the pudding must be started the last Sunday before Advent. Once you start making this delicacy, you’ll understand all the stirring part, but the name is taken in part from the collect from the prayer book:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Families gather together to help mix and steam the pudding, which is not only fun but also practical, as the mixture can be very hard to stir. Per tradition, the pudding is stirred East to West to represent the wise men’s journey to the infant Jesus, and each person who stirs makes a special wish for the year to come.

Some families place a silver coin in the pudding as a symbol of good luck to the recipient on Christmas Day. (Be sure to boil the coin for 10 minutes to sterilize it before adding it to the mix.) Christmas pudding should sit in a dark and dry place for at least 4-5 weeks (the length of Advent), but it is not uncommon for some families to use the pudding made the previous year for their Christmas dinner.

So while Advent is a season of preparation, Stir-Up Sunday and getting the pudding ready is preparation for Advent. Here’s the recipe:

The Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Loudon’s Christmas Pudding 
Makes two 2-pint puddings


  • 2 cups or 1 220g package suet (in the US, ask your grocery store butcher if suet is available; suet may also be purchased online)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of mixed spice (make your own or use a mix like pumpkin pie spice)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ white breadcrumbs grated from stale loaf (about 1 1/3 slices of bread)
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • 1 ½ cups sultanas (in the US, can be purchased online, or substitute dried cranberries)
  • 4 cups dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup candied citrus peel finely chopped whole
  • The grated rind of 1 lemon
  • The grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of a strong ale (personal preference)
  • ½ cup stout (Ellen uses Guinness but, again, personal preference)
  • 4 tbsp rum

Other Needs: Baking string, pudding basins, baking paper/parchment, aluminum foil

Put suet, flour, breadcrumbs, and spices in a bowl, mixing in each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next.

Gradually mix in all fruit, peel, and nuts, and follow these with the apple, orange, and lemon peel.

In a different bowl beat up eggs, and mix in the rum, ale, and stout.

Empty all of this over the dry ingredients, and then stir very hard. (This mixing is vital, so recruit some help!) You may find you need more stout; it’s difficult to be exact with liquid quantities, but the mixture should be dropping consistency, that is, it should fall from the spoon when tapped sharply against the side of the bowl.

After mixing, cover with a cloth. Leave mixture over night.

Grease two 2-pint basins, and pack mixture tightly to the top.

Cover each with one sheet of aluminum foil with baking paper/parchment inside. From the inside make a pleat in paper and foil to allow the pudding to rise. Tie the foil and paper tops around the basin with sting, cutting away some excess and tucking the rest underneath the string. You can tie another few pieces of string on the ends to make a handle.

Place pudding on top of a heat safe plate in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and steam for 8 hours. Be sure to keep an eye on the water now and then to make sure it doesn’t boil away.

When cooked and cooled, remove foil and paper and replace with fresh foil and paper.

Traditionally, the pudding is stored in cool, dry, dark place throughout Advent (3-4 weeks).

Before serving, steam for 2 hours.

Submitted by: Emily Kirk (Diocese of East Tennessee ) and Kate Jewett-Williams (Diocese of Dallas and Diocese of Oklahoma), Young Adult Service Corps Members serving in Liverpool, UK

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, visit: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/advent/resources

Coming November 27: Turkey Bone Gumbo, or Giving Thanks for Leftovers

Two Tables


Preparing and sharing food around a common table does more than physically nourish us and those we love. Maggy Keet demonstrates the interplay between food and faith at two tables – the altar and the kitchen table.

During the coming Advent season, we will share recipes from many cultures and traditions. It’s an invitation to try new things, and indulge in some old ones. It’s about preparing and sharing. It’s about personal and cultural memory, and it’s what feeds us body and soul.

For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things. ~ Psalm 107:9

Coming Sunday, November 20:  Stir up a traditional Christmas pudding




Prepare ye the way. And the Feast.

Advent CountdownAdvent calls us to a time of preparation and hope as we await the birth of the Christ Child. One tangible expression of this call is planning, cooking, and sharing a meal or special dish that brings sustenance and comfort to others and to ourselves. The importance of providing food for both body and soul is found throughout the Bible. Coming to the table – in whatever condition or station of life – is essential to many faith traditions.

Throughout Advent, we’ll highlight a recipe a day to help you in your preparation and sharing of the season. This blog will feature recipes offered by members and friends of The Episcopal Church from around the world – Turkey Gumbo and Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya from Louisiana, Roast Buffalo from First Nations’ Kitchen in Minnesota, Buckeye Candy from Ohio, Fried Pork and Plantains from Haiti, Coffee Cake and Leek & Potato Pie from New York, Pralines from Savannah, and many more. Prepare to cook and eat well this Advent season!

Once the holidays are over, we’ll add recipes and stories to the blog throughout the year, hoping to make it your go-to source for great food.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. ~ Psalm 34:8

Coming November 20: Stir up a traditional Christmas pudding