Disclosure: This Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo recipe contains a few Amazon affiliate links, which helps support Kitchen Concoctions via commissions made through customer purchases at no cost to you.*
Looking for an easy and authentic gumbo recipe? This Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo is a family tradition and uses leftover Thanksgiving turkey or smoked turkey from our favorite local barbecue spot! We also make this Cajun style soup for various holiday dinners, including Christmas and Mardi Gras!
So growing up in “Cajun” family greatly influenced our ‘traditional American holidays’. By ‘traditional American holidays’ I mean not Mardi Gras, but Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved that our family celebrated these holidays with special and unique traditions that none of my friends did. Things like serving smoked turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas and later me cooking up this Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo recipe, using the leftovers.
Other special and unique holiday traditions, included reading a Cajun Night Before Christmas (and a Texas Night Before Christmas, I mean after all we did live in Texas) on Christmas Eve and my Dad doing his best at his Cajun/Texan accent (he is from the North) and us kids laughing hysterically because it was so fake (wowzers that was a horrible run on sentence). Or celebrating birthdays or other occasions with a proper crawfish boil.
That smoked turkey is something that I look forward to every year! Another holiday tradition is having my Grandmother’s Seafood Gumbo or my Great-grandmother’s ‘Texas Hash’ (her own special ‘concoction’ of Frito Chili Pie and a Taco Salad) the day after Thanksgiving or for our annual Christmas party; which is another special family tradition that started way back with my Great-grandparents when my Mom was just a babe. You see we have our own special version of a family Christmas party and it is full of awesome food, good company, and some sort of self-embarrassing family skit, game, or slide show!
So in honor of my family traditions, I make this gumbo at least once or twice a year using leftover Smoked Turkey from our holiday dinners that I stock my freezer with. I always use leftover smoked turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas, because we always have a ton, but it also gives this gumbo rich an hearty flavor, that you can’t achieve from the roux on it’s own or by using traditional leftover turkey. If you don’t have leftover smoked turkey from the holidays, you could also use leftover smoked turkey or smoked chicken from your local barbecue joint or grocery store hot deli.
This year I’ll be making this Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo for Mardi Gras, since it is such a hearty dinner recipe, and the perfect dish to indulge with on Fat Tuesday! If you celebrate Mardi Gras, what are your favorite New Orleans foods? Please share in the comments below!
Helpful Tips and Information:
Serving Suggestion: I usually serve this as directed, with hot cooked rice, but some people also like to eat their gumbo with saltine crackers. Since this is a very hearty meal, I’ll normally pair it with a side salad, like this Pear and Pomegranate Salad or Kale Caesar Salad.
Cooking Tip: The key to gumbo is a dark, almost chocolate looking roux. This is achieved by cooking the flour and oil/butter mixture low and slow for a solid 8-10 minutes while whisking constantly.
Then if I’m making this gumbo using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’ll make my own homemade smoked turkey stock, using this tutorial. If I don’t have the turkey carcass to make homemade stock, I’ll use store bought chicken stock.
And while the directions say to simmer the gumbo for 60-90 minutes, my Grandmother taught me you should really let your gumbo simmer for many hours or all day, to achieve the best flavor. So if you have the time, I highly suggest letting your gumbo cook for as long as you can.
If you like this Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo recipe, then you’ll love these other Cajun recipes:
Bananas Foster with Spiced Ice Cream
King Cake Bubble Up
Classic Red Beans and Rice
Crawfish and Corn Bisque
Southern Oven Baked Catfish
This recipe and blog post was updated February 2018.
- 3 tablespoons canola or corn oil, divided
- 1 (12-ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups smoked turkey stock*
- 1/2 teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon creaole seasoning
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups chopped smoked turkey
- For Serving:
- ½ tablespoon gumbo filé powder
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped green onion tops
- 2 cups hot cooked rice
Heat ½ tablespoon oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
In same pot, heat remaining oil and butter over medium-high heat, until melted. Whisk in flour, to form a roux, and continue to stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until roux turns a deep, chocolate brown color, about 10-15 minutes.
Once roux has reached desired shade, stir in onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables release their steam.
In crease heat to high and push vegetables to the side of the pan. Whisking constantly, stir in the turkey broth, to deglaze the pan. Continue whisking until all the flour is dissolved and the brown bits come off the bottom of the pan; about 3-5 minutes.
Add salt, pepper, creole seasoning, cayenne, bay leaves, turkey and reserved sausage to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Skim off any fat that rises to the surface of the gumbo. Adjust seasonings and thin out with more stock if necessary.
To serve, place mound of rice in bottom of bowl, ladle gumbo over and top with chopped parsley, green onions and 1/2 teaspoon filé powder, if desired.
*Make your own smoked turkey stock using this tutorial and a smoked turkey carcass.
Low sodium chicken stock may also be used if you don't have turkey broth.