Every family has a story to tell.
Our first episode of The Family Jewels Podcast is about that most delicious of holidays — Thanksgiving.
Hosts Apryl Lundsten and Eve Troeh share their own family stories from the holiday: Apryl tells about the year her stepdad brought someone new home to meet the family, while Eve goes to New Orleans for a very non-traditional Thanksgiving tradition. Plus, she brings back a great recipe from there. We also hear the tale of a TV ad that came to life, tell you about something called turkey dumping and get advice for coping with family drama around the holidays.
We want to hear your family stories — send us your family jewels at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Liz Williams is President of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, located in New Orleans. Find it online at www.southernfood.org. She doesn’t toss her turkey bones; she throws ’em in the biggest pot she can find the day after Thanksgiving to make:
Turkey Bone Gumbo
¼ c flour
¼ oil or bacon fat or even duck fat, if you have it
2 large onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
One large green bell pepper, chopped
Garlic, minced, at least 3 cloves
Gravy from Thanksgiving turkey and turkey carcass
Water or broth
Bay leaf or two, thyme, salt and pepper
Leftover turkey meat
Bunch of parsley, chopped
Filé and hot sauce for the table
For my taste there is only one reason to eat turkey on Thanksgiving and that is the opportunity to have a turkey carcass and leftovers for making Turkey Bone Gumbo. I always make too much gravy, vegetables and dressing so that these are planned leftovers.
Make a dark roux with bacon grease or duck fat and the flour. When the roux has reached the right color add the chopped onions. Stir well and allow the onions to begin to caramelize. Add celery and bell peppers. Add garlic. When the vegetables are all soft, add the sausage. After browning the sausage, add the leftover gravy. (Even if the gravy contains mushrooms and other vegetables, as mine does, add it all. My turkey gravy almost always contains mushrooms. I make a bed of carrots and sit the turkey on it in the roasting pan. Although everyone eats these carrots at the Thanksgiving meal, there are usually some leftover and they go into the gumbo pot. And if I have peas in roux, I put them into the pot also.) Add stock or water to cover everything in the pot. Add the turkey carcass.
Add leftover turkey cut into bite-sized pieces. Add bay leaves and thyme. Simmer at least 2 hours so that the flavors can meld. Taste and adjust seasonings – especially salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley. Remove the carcass before serving.
I always make a cornbread and oyster dressing which I serve with the turkey on Thanksgiving. (Sometimes I also add crawfish). Instead of serving my Turkey Bone Gumbo with rice, I plop a large dollop of this dressing into the bowl of gumbo (as with potato salad). I serve this gumbo with hot sauce and filé on the table.
In anticipation of the sassafras of the filé on the gumbo, I usually baste the turkey with at least one bottle of root beer. This not only helps impart a beautiful color to the turkey’s skin, but adds a sweet richness to the gravy and drippings. In turn this adds a haunting sweetness to the gumbo, with a sassafras completion with the sprinkling of filé at the table.
We’re looking for your most memorable Thanksgiving stories. Maybe you have a captivating tale about the worst Thanksgiving ever, or the best, or the weirdest, or the shittiest, or the one that made you realize how much your nearest and dearest mean to you.
Or maybe you have a great family recipe. Something your Grandma’s made since you were a little tyke. Or a dish that’s always on the table even though no one actually likes it.
We want to hear your family stories.
Because families are like fudge: sweet with a lot of nuts.