Stories from the Kitchen: Joe Garcia’s Leftover Turkey Gumbo

Last week, I introduced you to our friend Joe Garcia. Today, he’s sharing a recipe inspired by his days as a rogue culinary freshman in Louisiana. Warning: I will most definitely be instagramming this dish when I make it next weekend! Here’s Joe’s recipe for Leftover Turkey Gumbo.
Stories from the Kitchen | Hannah & Husband

There is one thing I love, that signals the handoff from Thanksgiving to Christmas (or Chanukah, we don’t leave anyone out) and it is Leftover Turkey Gumbo.

We don’t do much on Black Friday, since my beloved is up like an overcaffeinated Amish with a gnawing conscience, and she stays gone all the livelong day, as does most of the distaff side of our friend roster. So Black Friday is spent in social hibernation, plotting and scheming regarding weighty matters potable and edible.

This recipe was cobbled together with the influence of a dear college friend’s mother many, many epochs ago. As a 17 year old freshperson away from the comfort of a Miami home, Louisiana cuisine possessed both an insanely exotic appeal, as well as approachable and recognizable aspects to someone from southernmost Florida. The real big difference was the flavor profile, relying more on chile heat to counterpoint richness than with citrus/vinegar acid as I had known until then.

In no time at all, I was gumbo-ing up a storm, in an electric wok (!) which was useless as a wok, but ideal for this purpose and easy to conceal from the prying eyes of the dorm’s R.A., he of the suspicious and distrusting nature, and saddled with a zeal for confiscation of the implements of civilized nourishment. This skill stood me in good stead, especially on quiet weekends on campus (when cafeteria fare was especially limited) and I could put out a couple of wooden crates and lawn chairs and hand gumbo off to girls passing by.

Anyway, lazing around on a particular Black Friday pondering what to do, I remembered a certain “leftover chicken and sausage soup” which I loved when I visited our family in Northern Spain. So I thought:

1- Turkey is, in certain relevant and applicable respects, a big chicken.

2- Gumbo is, for our purposes, soup.

3- Andouille is sausage.

4- I have eleventy squillion pounds of leftover turkey.

5- I live in sunny, tropical So. Florida, basically the factory outlet for fresh shrimp.

So I came up with this. Now, the beauty of this recipe is that even with a substandard moisture-free turkey, you can still make your tastebuds “do the Wave” and if you are the sort of person saddled with an obsessive kitchen streak, even burly men will weep openly in joy.

Leftover Turkey Gumbo

Generously serves 4 Miamians or 6 normal persons

¼ c. peanut oil (or vegetable oil, if you are allergic to peanuts)

¼ c. all-purpose flour (unbleached if at all possible)

1½ lb head-on medium (31-40 count) shrimp, or 1 lb. headless

2 quarts water

1 c. diced onion

½ c. diced celery

½ c. diced bell peppers (I like the red ones; any non-green — heresy, I know — peppers will work. You do whatever.)

2 tablespoons garlic, minced as finely as your patience will allow

½ c. peeled, seeded and diced tomato (packaged will do in a pinch, in which case I suggest the Pomi ones in the carton, keeping in mind those are UNsalted)

1 T. coarse salt

½ t. freshly ground black pepper

1 t. fresh thyme, chopped

¼-½ t. cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

1 T. filé powder

½ lb. andouille sausage (I prefer Aidell’s, but Amy Lou’s is good too. Otherwise get what they have where you live.), sliced at an angle into ¼” thick pieces

½ lb. leftover turkey (do NOT fuss over the dark/light meat ratio, just make sure you have no gristle/skin included) chopped or shredded up into bite-size pieces

Preheat the oven (!) to 350F.

Put the oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart pot (a Dutch oven is great if you have one) and stir together. Place on the center rack of the oven, uncovered, and cook for 90 minutes, whisking every half hour. All right-thinking Louisianans consider this step to be outright heresy. Embrace and live with it.

Decapitate, peel and devein the shrimp. Stash the shrimp in a ziplock bag with a light brine in the refrigerator. Place the heads and shells in a saucepan along with the water, set to boil. Drop the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a container, discarding the solids. If you do not have head-on shrimp available, use a couple of bottles of clam juice in place of +/- pint of water. If you only have peeled shrimp, use the turkey carcass to make turkey stock. Let cool to room temperature. (Hot stock will gelatinize the starch in the roux too quickly.)

Once the roux is done (it will look like semisweet chocolate), carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook, stirring maniacally for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Dribble the shrimp/turkey/whatever stock as you whisk nonstop. Drop the heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the sausage and filé powder while stirring constantly.

Off the heat, add shrimp and turkey to pot, cover and allow to sit until the shrimp JUST turns pink, about 5-7 minutes. Toss the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some Louisiana-style hot sauce to provide additional heat to those who like it that way. This is traditionally served with white rice, I like something along the jasmine/basmati spectrum…just mound it on a shallow soup plate and spoon the gumbo around it.


Click here to follow Joe on Twitter, and add his blog, Basic Civilization, to your reader.

Turkey-ish Delights (aka The Best Thanksgiving Wine)

I very distinctly remember when I got hooked on Twitter and it is due, in part, to today’s guest. The interwebs are the perfect place to meet your tribe–people that share your tastes and passions. I imagine if Julia Child and Avis DeVoto were pen pals today, their relationship may have started because of a twitter exchange. We have bonded with Joe Garcia over dinner menus, font selections, and menswear. His Boxing Day Brunch is a legendary feast I hope to attend one day. So who could be better to teach us about the perfect wine to pair with our Thanksgiving feast? Without further ado, Joe Garcia…

Turkey-ish Delights: Pair the Right Wine With Your Thanksgiving Dinner | Joe Garcia for Hannah & Husband

Thanksgiving is nearly at our throats and, as this is the one holiday dedicated to the principle that one ought freely engage in lucullan self-abuse and be grateful for the opportunity, the motto of “What ought we drink?” is heard echoing throughout the top floors of JMG Tower in ringing baritones.

Passersby accost me, women of a certain age and lurid disposition sidle up to me in the produce section of our local supermarkets, and incomplete foodies look upon us pleadingly. They all are aware of the searing need for vinapedic guidance.

Which brings us – calloo, callay! — to today, your day of potable deliverance.

In order for us to tell you what you ought drink, we must first start with what you must specifically not drink: Beaujolais Nouveau. This is not some sort of atavistic Francophobia or anti-Gallic editorial policy or viticultural jingoism. It is based on the hard fact that Beaujolais Nouveau simply doesn’t make sweet, sweet music with the typical Thanksgiving Day menu. The marketing wizards will tell you Beaujolais Nouveau “goes with everything.” Which is a yes-and-no proposition. It is simple enough and fruity enough and et cetera enough to not stand athwart the groaning board hurling vile abuse at your palate.

But that’s hardly a rousing endorsement, is it?

Mind you, this isn’t limited to Beaujolais Nouveau; the Usual Suspects (even when they avoid the dreaded International StyleTM) are all in trouble with the foodstuffs of gratitude. There is only one wine that has the muscle to cope well with the sage and pepper inflected turkey’s dark meat and white meat, and the cornbread, and the sausage bedecked stuffing/dressing, and the gravy and the cranberries and even that thing with the green beans and the canned fried onions and condensed soup your least favorite aunt brings every year. We’re talking about Zinfandel.

Sadly, most Zinfandel gets recognition for “white Zinfandel” which is a role for which it is catastrophically ill-suited, i.e., to become a wine that is little more than a wine cooler without training wheels. No, no, no. We’re talking real Zinfandel. It even has the happy characteristic of not being one of those grapes that has been planted up one continent and down the other. It’s a cheerfully American thing, this Zinfandel.

Now, if you are having a Thanksgiving bash with 50 of your closest friends and family some of whom might be considered, in technical terms, philistines, you’ll want to pick a more accessible and affordable Zinfandel than if the party consisted of 20 or 8. Basically you want something with soft tannins, cherry-berry fruit, decent acidity and a good spice backbone. Here are the choices depending on how colossal your festivities are, from largest to smallest.

2012 Ravenswood Winery Zinfandel Vintner’s Blend California ($9 street price)

If you had to pick a Zinfandel with exactly zero research – blind, if you will – your safest bet is to reach for something from Ravenswood. At any price, this is a great wine. At $9, it’s practically pointing a Pilgrim’s blunderbuss at you and demanding to be taken home. The color is a standard red, not purple and not any of that rust/brick either. It has a berry brightness that is adorned with very notable spicy and mineral-ly characteristics, with a hint (just a hint, but I’m not crazy here) of citrus. Around this time you notice how deliciously unobtrusive the tannins are, lending just enough support to keep things smooth and sleek. The closer you get to the finish the more pronounced the berry thing becomes, which wraps up with a delicious cherry/spice character. Given that my Thanksgiving will consist of a medium-sized horde, I bought a case of this very thing. With the case discount, it really is an stunning bargain and will also pair up fantastically with grilled steaks. (You’re welcome.)

2012 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard Sonoma County ($23 street price)

Yes, it’s another zinfandel. I know. But this serves to underscore my point that, if you wanted the closest thing to a “foolproof” choice, Zinfandels are among the finalists. This one is clear scarlet, with the usual blackberry/raspberry aromas, with a smoky/herby edge. It has a gleeful acidity and a crisp minerality. Amazing finish, with a bit more tannin than its kid brother above. Good bet for cellaring. (If you can find the 2004, grab it and run, the extra year will have made it even more stellar.)

2012 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Sonoma County ($36 street price)

Ridge is another of the realibly excellent Zinfandel producers. This one is a purple-red, with a huge bouquet of blackberries and cherries, assorted mineral-ness and herbes de Provence, with hints of star anise and pepper. The body is less than you’d expect from a Zinfandel, but it’s lush and supple and the tannins just poke their heads out to say “hi.” (This is also sometimes available in half-bottles at about $20.)

 Click here to follow Joe on Twitter, and be sure to check out Basic Civilization during the month of Decemeber! 

Stories from the Kitchen: Jess Marcum’s Turkey

Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. You may have guessed Christmas just because of the influx of glitter and Andy Williams songs, but alas it is Turkey Day that has my heart. I have such fond memories of days spent in the kitchen with several generations of family preparing a meal for guests with thankful hearts. In the past, this holiday has been celebrated on the blog with DIY decor, a game plan for beginner hosts, and even a Charlie Brown style spread. But this year, we’re doing something extra special!

stories-from-the-kitchen-logo-1I’m calling this series Stories from the Kitchen, and I’ve asked friends from around the country (& the interwebs) to share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe as well as the story behind it. The food we serve, especially around the holidays, always seems to have a little history–why not share!

Stories from the Kitchen: Jess Marcum's Crisp Maple Glazed Roast Turkey | Hannah & Husband

To kick things off: this lovely lady! Meet Jess Marcum, a kindred spirit who currently resides in California with her handsome husband and two little girls. (Go look at their Halloween costumes right now; we’ll wait.) I have read Jess’s blog for long enough now that I have no idea when I started, but I feel like we were destined to be friends. Jess helped me discover the magic of apples & brie on crusty bread, shared the hot fudge recipe that has saved more than one Saturday night, and, like me, believes fresh flowers on bookshelves can brighten even the gloomiest day. The picture above was taken at the Marcums’ annual Fall Feast, which I confess has occupied my Pinterest boards (and brain) ever since–isn’t it just lovely? When I sent her an email about this little project, I was so thrilled when she said Yes! So without further ado, here’s Jess’ story…

My father in law is famous for his hazing tactics. Hazing that is, for new members of the family. The stories my brothers in law could tell! My oldest brother in law once had to hand squeeze orange juice for the whole family (10 people in total). Needless to say I was nervous about entering the family, but as it turned out he was really quite civil to me. There were jokes made about his son marrying up, I even got a few hugs, it was quite a comfortable experience.

Then came my first Thanksgiving with the in laws….less than a year after we were married. The dish assignments went out and I was landed with the turkey. THE TURKEY. It was in this moment that I realized he hadn’t let me off the hook, he was just biding his time for something good.

Let me just back up and say that first, my father in law is a top notch chef in his own right and second, I had never cooked any kind of whole bird in my life. The pressure was on. To say I was stressed would be an understatement, but luckily my dear old father in law did provide me with a recipe to go off of, bless him. I soaked the bird in Pioneer Woman’s turkey brine the night before and did a buttery maple syrup glaze to roast (I can’t remember where this recipe came from, I’ve done it so many times since I’ve probably completely changed it anyway).

I really have to thank my father in law for this experience (I can only say that because the bird turned out beautifully), being in charge of the turkey completely cured me of my fear of cooking whole birds and gave me my go-to turkey recipe for years to come! I make this at least twice a year, I’m one of those people who have to have “leftover” turkey sandwiches more often than the week after Thanksgiving, they’re kind of my jam. So without further adieu…the recipe.

Crisp Maple Glazed Roast Turkey


1 whole turkey
1 stick of salted butter softened
1 1/2 cups grade B pure maple syrup (I love the Trader Joe’s brand)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Wash your bird and remove the gizzard and any fun packages your butcher left in the cavity for you. (Set aside if you want to make gravy.)

Set the bird out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pat her dry with paper towels then set in your roasting pan. While she’s sitting melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the maple syrup, cook on medium heat and let it come to a simmer. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Baste the bird in the syrup reduction and salt and pepper liberally (make sure to get the syrup in all the crevices). Make a tin foil tent over her and stick her in the pre heated oven.

Continue to baste every 30 minutes until her internal temperature reads 155 degrees. (If your syrup solidifies just heat it up again.) Then remove the tin foil and cook on the middle rack until her breast temperature reaches 165 degrees.

A viola! A very yummy turkey! I should mention that I only do the brine on special occasions….like Thanksgiving. Normally I leave out the brine entirely and I’ve found it tastes just fine, so that’s your call!

some bonus recipes…

maple turkey gravy:

fill a pot with water and boil down the gizzard of the turkey
put the turkey drippings in a sauce pan (first, skim off the fat) and add the gizzard water and flour until it reaches your desired consistency (whisking constantly)
salt and pepper to taste

left over turkey sandwiches:

leftover turkey
toasted whole wheat bread
cranberry sauce
apples slices sprinkled with cinnamon

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines, 1953 | Hannah & Husband

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for vintage, and one of the things I love to find are food pamphlets and small paperback cookbooks from the 1940s and 50s. These little treasures not only offer an array of recipes, but often a little peek into the era–admittedly my favorite part. So today, kicking off our Thanksgiving festivities here on the blog is this little gem from Woo-Woo’s collection: 1953’s How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines. As you’ll see it was distributed by local Gulf stations to patrons all over the country.

And, look at that man. Isn’t he just precious? I’d take that well-suited man with his winking eye at my table any day of the week!

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines, 1953 | Hannah & Husband


The family and guests gather around the table, admire the bird, join in the prayer of thanks, and settle back in pleasant anticipation of a delicious meal and a good show–the ritual of carving the turkey. Unfortunately, the head of the house, meanwhile, has all too often been suffering the pangs of stage fright and the feeling of being faced with a long, unpleasant carving chore.

When you know how, carving is not difficult, and it is fun to put on the expected show.

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines, 1953 | Hannah & Husband

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines, 1953 | Hannah & Husband


Many people have decided preferences and the thoughtful host will inquire what they desire and serve accordingly. When no preference is expressed, the helping should be equal parts of light and dark meat. In all cases, a spoonful of stuffing should first be put on the plate. Serve neatly, as appearance aids appetite.

I just love that line!

How to Carve a Turkey by Duncan Hines, 1953 | Hannah & Husband

Woo-Woo had 7 children. As you may imagine, there were many things that acted as a canvas to a young artist. 


Related Posts:

A favorite this time of year: Woo-Woo’s Recipe for Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Or, if you’re hosting this year: Thanksgiving Game Plan: 8 Days Out 



Thanksgiving Decoration: Turkey in the Straw

Turkey in the Straw DIY | Thanksgiving Decor by Hannah & Husband

Several years ago my mom picked up this fun little turkey. Every year she would buy an oversize pumpkin for Halloween, and then come November she would add the turkey to the pumpkin. This year as she pulled the feathers and head out of storage a couple of the dowel rods were broken, so she asked me to do a little turkey surgery. After I fixed hers I stuck them in a straw bale on our front porch. Voilà: Turkey in the Straw.

Turkey in the Straw How-To | Hannah & Husband

Click here to listen to Turkey in the Straw for a little inspiration while you work.

Before she came to take the turkey back, we decided it would be fun to have one of our own. We cut the shapes out of a scrap of 3/4″ plywood using a jigsaw (for a more permanent turkey use solid wood and be sure to waterproof it), and Hannah painted them to the colors of her choosing. Take a look at our process, and download the templates to create your own!

Turkey in the Straw How-To | Hannah & Husband

Turkey in the Straw How-To | Hannah & Husband

Turkey in the Straw How-To | Hannah & Husband

Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Click here.