Recipe: Turkey Wing Gumbo

Published on: April 15th, 2016

If you like the Pheasant, Quail and Andouille Gumbo that Prejean's sells at Jazz Fest, you'll like this dark roux-based gumbo. A couple of non-traditional techniques (browning the sausage and using freshly ground chile powder) give extra depth of flavor.

4 large turkey wings
1/2 cup vegetable oil + extra for thinning roux
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
2 ribs celery
14 oz package of green onion smoked sausage
A large Ancho chile or other dried chile such as guajillo or dried New Mexican. Or subsitiute 2 tablespoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste.
Ground black pepper
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
3 tablespoons sliced green onion tops
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Your favorite hot sauce
Cooked rice for serving

Trim excess skin from the wings and cut them into segments. Barely cover with water in a pot just big enough to hold them. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the wing meat is tender, around 2 hours.

While the wings are simmering, do the following:

Prep vegetables. Chop the onion, bell pepper and celery to a small (~1/4 inch) dice. Combine the chopped vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add the trimmings from the celery and onion to the simmering wings in the stock pot.

Chop the sausage into half moons, then brown slowly and render out some of the fat. When the sausage is brown, separate it from fat.

Toast chiles and grind powder. Remove seeds from the chiles, cut into flat strips and cook on dry pan over medium heat until fragrant and just a wisp of smoke appears in the pan. Flip and cook for 10-15 seconds on the other side. Remove from pan and cool, then grind into a coarse powder with a spice ginder.

When the meat is tender, remove the wings from the stock to cool. Strain the stock. When cool enough to handle, pull meat from wing bones. Chop or shred to bite size.

Now all our ingredients are ready to combine and finish our gumbo.

Make the roux. Add the oil and flour to a large pot. Stir with the wooden spoon to combine, and stir occasionally as the flour begins to brown. To get a full flavored gumbo, the roux needs to be very dark, something like the color of chocolate syrup. In order to get so dark a roux without scorching, the roux has to stay quite loose. If your roux starts clumping up, smooth it out with more oil a tablespoon as a time.

As the roux darkens, begin to stir more or less continuously. As it approaches the desired color, get the bowl of chopped onions, celery, and bell peppers. When the roux is a dark chocolate brown, add the vegetables to the roux all at once and stir vigourously. The water in the vegetables will instantly stop the roux from cooking and prevent scorching.

Add the chile powder to the roux/vegetable mix and cook for a few minutes as the vegetables soften.

Add the browned sausage and the turkey meat. Add 4-6 cups of broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour, occasionally skimming fat from the surface. Add some more broth or hot water if the gumbo isn't soupy enough. Adjust seasoning, adding salt and black pepper to taste. Add Kitchen Bouquet if desired.

Turn off heat, add green onion tops and chopped parsely. Let stand for a few minutes off heat before serving.

Serve over rice.

Adjust heat with your favorite hot sauce.

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