“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.” Plautus
Wow, it’s time for another Wine Pairing Weekend – and almost Thanksgiving – already! The time seems to fly faster this time of year…as I try to hang on to every moment. Fall and the holidays are my favorite times of the year, with the change in the air and weather and the hustle and bustle of back-to school, football and tailgates, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, the hustle and bustle of it all is what makes the time go by so quickly. Still, I love it!
I am addicted to the special issue magazines that come out this time of year. It’s always inspiring for me to page through each one, soaking in inspiration and ideas – more than I could ever fit into one holiday season, of course, but if I get even one great recipe or idea then it has been worth the purchase. Hoffman Media’s Special Collector’s Issue Southern Cast Iron is one such magazine, with several delectable recipes I want to try.
I love cooking with my cast iron; it truly is a workhorse in the kitchen and yields dishes with amazing flavor. And there’s something really special about cooking in the enameled cast iron I inherited from my mom about ten years ago, that she’d used for the 30 years before. Someday my kids will inherit it from me, and hopefully their children will cook in it in years to come. Cast iron’s longevity and the family traditions that live in each piece are its greatest charms.
When I heard that the theme for this month’s Wine Pairing was “Creative Thanksgiving”, I knew I wanted to find something fun to do with leftover turkey. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good turkey sandwich! But I thought it would be great to find something new, something fun to pair with a wine you may not think of right off the bat as a match. Out came my cookbooks and new special issues, and inside Southern Cast Iron, I found just what I was looking for: Turkey Seafood Gumbo.
I haven’t seen a ton of recipes that mix turkey and seafood; this sounded like a great way to use up some of your Thanksgiving leftovers. The spicy flavor from the andouille sausage will warm you inside and out, as will the rich and creamy texture of the sauce. The recipe calls for crab claws, shucked oysters and fresh shrimp – but you can substitute or omit any ingredients you’d like to. I used oysters this time, but next time I think I may use scallops instead. Fresh crab claws weren’t available at a reasonable price, so I used more shrimp and turkey. And if you served a huge turkey for the holiday and have lots of leftovers (and/or people who don’t care for seafood) you could just make it with the turkey and sausage. Super versatile!
My better half is a wine enthusiast, and so it’s fun to talk to him about the recipes I’m considering and get his advice on which wine to pair them with. I think the normal tendency would be to think white wine with turkey or seafood, and the same with a dish that combines the two. But the andouille sausage really adds a lot of flavor and heat to the gumbo (it simmers in the sauce for the major portion of the cook time and imparts great flavor throughout).
It gives the gumbo quite a kick, and, as hubby said, “You want to pair it with something that’s going to kick back!” That means a nice bold red, like a Syrah, and so I chose the 2012 Syrah from Parkers Estate. It was a perfect match!
I seem to gravitate to California wines from the northern region. The combination of cool, foggy mornings and warmer afternoons just gives a little something extra to the grapes, I think. This Syrah has a bold and spicy flavor that really stands up to the spice in the andouille sausage, and (Parkers description does this the most justice) the “aromas of dark plums, sweet oak and clove…and flavors of black fruit and currant..supported by a firm, spicy core” both compliment and cut through the rich gumbo.
So here is the recipe from the magazine – although when I made it, I cut the quantities in half. (Honestly, a half recipe generously serves 8 people. We ate the gumbo for dinner twice, and I froze the other half of what I made.) Remember, you can adjust the quantities of the ingredients and substitute as you like. It is best cooked in an enameled cast iron pot (a la Le Creuset), although if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you from trying this delicious stew…just make sure you stir often while it simmers so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
Also, be patient when cooking the roux…next time I will cook mine longer for darker color and a bit richer flavor, although I did love this batch.
I hope you enjoy this pairing as much as we did. This delicious dish, paired with a great wine, would easily make the day after Thanksgiving an occasion in itself. Cheers to you and your families with wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups vegetable oil
- 3 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1½ cups chopped red bell pepper
- 1½ cups chopped celery
- 2 lbs. andouille sausage (Cajun smoked sausage), cut into ¼" thick slices
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 quarts turkey or chicken broth
- 1 lb. fresh crab claws
- 1 lb. shucked oysters
- 1½ lbs. large, fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, with the tails left on
- 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
- Hot cooked rice
- In a large enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven, combine the flour and oil over medium heat.
- Cook, whisking constantly, until the flour mixture turns dark brown, approximately 15 minutes.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, sausage and bay leaves, stirring until well-combined.
- Gradually add the broth, and stir again until well-combined.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add the crab claws and oysters and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and the turkey, and cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and firm.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Serve over or alongside hot cooked rice.
Check out all the other fabulous Creative Thanksgiving-Inspired Dishes and Wine Pairings!
Turkey, Tempranillo and Sweet Potatoes by Cooking Chat
Thanksgiving from the Veneto: Turkey, Pomegranate Sauce & Valpolicella by foodwineclick
Norwegian Meatballs by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Shepherds Pie Casserole with Barnard Griffin Syrah Port by Wild 4 Washington Wine
Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding and Donkey & Goat Stone Crusher by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Purple Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Lobster + Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Arugula Pear Salad paired with Torrontes from Argentina by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Sweet Potato and Cranberry Bake with Cranberry Blush by Curious Cuisiniere
Walnut Tart with Sparkling Brachetto d’Acqui by Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog
Can we skip to dessert? by Pull That Cork
Don’t Forget Leftovers!
Day After Turkey and Seafood Gumbo by It’s Okay To Eat The Cupcake
Turkey Pot Pie and Boedecker Cellars Chardonnay by Tasting Pour
Be sure to join in on our Twitter chat today, November 8th at 11 a.m. Eastern Time! We’ll be talking about our tips and tricks for the best Thanksgiving wine pairings, and we’d love to hear from you!
December’s Wine Pairing Weekend will be hosted by Jeff of foodwineclick. Get our inspirations for sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvre pairings for the holidays. Check out our posts and join in the #WinePW 7 conversation on Saturday Dec. 13!