Pairing: Classic New Orleans gumbo pairs with Russian River zinfandel.
Our Wine of the Week, Carlisle 2013 Russian River Valley Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel ($47), is a classic example of old-vine zinfandel from the Russian River Valley. The wine is rich and dark, like liquid garnets lit by moonlight. Aromas of dark berries, licorice root, loamy topsoil and tobacco waft from the glass in a heady bouquet that beckons us: Come closer, have a sip.
On the palate, these aromas blossom into lush flavors of fresh mulberry, black raspberry, anise and cassis. Entwined with the soft tannins that spread across the mid-palate are notes of spice and dried citrus, qualities that suggest freshly squeezed blood orange juice.
The wine works beautifully at the holiday table but may be even better with leftovers. Roasted root vegetables folded into a creamy risotto or mashed celery root-potatoes cakes fried in brown butter are excellent companions. Turkey soup and turkey risotto welcome it alongside, as well.
Today’s recipe is a classic New Orleans gumbo that is easy to make when you have turkey stock. There’s a bit of heat in it, but not so much that it impacts the wine. Rather, the depth of flavors in the gumbo and the silken texture of the roux make it a magical match.
Serves 6 to 8
8 cups turkey stock
1/ 2 cup duck fat, lard, peanut oil or clarified butter
1/ 2 cup all-purpose flour
1 yellow onion, cut into small dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into small dice
4 large celery ribs, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons file powder (ground dried sassafras, also known as gumbo file)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/ 2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and ground black pepper
1/ 4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/ 8 teaspoon chipotle powder or ground cayenne
1 pound andouille, kielbasa or other smoked sausage, cut into medium dice
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces okra, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds, optional
4-6 cups cooked turkey, preferably dark meat, cut into medium dice
6½-7 cups steamed white rice (from 2 cups raw rice), hot
- Fresh sage leaves and minced fresh sage, for garnish, optional
Put the turkey stock in a large pot, set it over medium heat, bring it to a boil and cook until it is reduced to just three cups. Set aside.
Put the fat into a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven set over medium high heat. When it just begins to smoke, use a long-handled whisk to stir the flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time, into the hot oil. Stir constantly as the flour begins to color. (If black specks appear, the flour has burned; discard it and begin again.)
When the mixture is a dark reddish-brown, remove it from the heat and immediately use a wooden spoon to stir in the onion, green pepper and celery . Continue to stir as the roux cools and ceases to darken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the file powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic powder, the onion powder, the black and white pepper and the chipotle powder or cayenne.
Return the stock to the heat and bring it to a boil. Add the roux, a large spoonful at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition. Add the sausage and garlic, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the gumbo simmers, fry the okra in a heavy pan set over medium heat until it releases its liquid and that liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat.
Add the turkey and the okra to the gumbo and simmer 20 minutes more. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. The gumbo is best after it has rested for a day so, if you can, let it cool and refrigerate it overnight, covered.
Remove from the refrigerator and transfer to a large, heavy-bottomed pot to heat through.
To serve, ladle the gumbo into individual soup plates and top each portion with a generous scoop of rice. Garnish with sage leaves and minced sage, if using, and serve.
Michele Anna Jordan is author of the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.
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