Good morning. I made enough turkey stock this year that I could freeze a few quarts for use this winter. The rest I used to make gumbo, employing the no-recipe technique I champion each Wednesday in this space. And if like many Americans you currently have turkey stock — or leftover chicken stock — on hand in your refrigerator or freezer, you might join me in making the dish tonight or some day soon. You will not regret it.
While my stock reheated on the stove, I melted around half a cup of bacon drippings into a big pot, and added to that another half-cup of canola oil. When it started to shimmer, I hit it with a cup of all-purpose flour, and whisked and whisked and whisked over medium heat until the mixture went the color of deep caramel, a beautiful roux.
To that, I added a chopped onion of considerable size, chopped celery to match the pile of onions, and chopped bell peppers to do the same. Then, some garlic, roughly chopped, and sprays of dried spices, a kind of Cajun mix: salt and paprika, black pepper and onion powder, red-pepper flakes, a little oregano, a lot of thyme, a couple bay leaves.
I stirred that around in the roux and let the vegetables soften and then added meats: some coins of chorizo from a local farm; some tasso ham from one down in Florida; and a couple of pounds of venison harvested by my brother’s house in Maine. I stirred some more, and then started to add hot stock to the pot, ladle by ladle, stirring all the while, at least a couple quarts’ worth, until the stew took on the consistency of a thin gravy.
That cooked for an hour or so over low heat, and then I added the last of the turkey I had in the fridge, let it get hot and served the gumbo over white rice with a version of this cornbread recipe in which I halved the amount of all-purpose flour and doubled the cornmeal. And it was so, so great.
Hanukkah’s coming this weekend. You might want to celebrate with Melissa Clark’s new recipe for olive oil and sea salt brownies (above). Also, with Joan Nathan’s recipe for burekas, which she learned from a group of Atlanta bakers who make them for their synagogue each year, to sell at the holiday bazaar.
Will you look, as well, at David Tanis’s recipe for chicken thighs with dried mushrooms and parsley potatoes? (Check out Eric Asimov’s suggestion for what wine to drink with that dish, because it may double your enjoyment of the meal.)
And if you don’t want meat, but still plenty of pleasure, consider Alison Roman’s ace new receipt for spiced chickpea stew with turmeric and lots of greens.
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Now, do make a little time to read Priya Krishna in The Times, on how social media is changing how Indians cook and think about food. It’s fascinating.
Closer to home, I enjoyed Max Falkowitz, also in The Times, on the critical mass of new and good Chinese restaurants in Forest Hills, Queens. That’s a clip-and-save for anyone in or coming to New York during this holiday season.
Someone asks you some time what Reddit provides, here’s an answer: A photograph of Stevie Nicks in 1977, with flowers and a copy of “Dune,” wearing a fur coat.
Finally, many miles from dumplings and roast goose, the great conjurer, actor, historian and writer Ricky Jay died on Saturday. If you’ve never read it, Mark Singer’s 1993 profile of Jay in The New Yorker is a joyful, amazing thing. If you’ve never seen it, his 1996 stage show, “Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants” was recorded for an HBO special. I found it on YouTube, as I did this clip from a BBC documentary that shows off Jay’s skills as a mountebank. We will not see his like again.