Like chili, gumbo has many rules, with most folks believing that their way of making this stew is the best. As I’m not a native of Cajun country, I tend to follow my friends’ leads when making gumbo, though even amongst that group I’ll see variations.
For instance, I have one friend who eschews celery in his gumbo, though another friend swears that without it the pot will never be authentic. Though this celery-loving friend can’t abide by okra in his gumbo, even though an African word for that vegetable, ki ngombo, is what some say gives gumbo its name!
Most of my friends do concur that tomatoes have no place in gumbo, though there are still a few who believe pouring in a can of Ro-Tel certainly won’t hurt. Then there are those that believe potato salad instead of rice is the better starch to add to your bowl, an affectation that seems strange at first but after a few bites you might wonder why you haven’t been serving it this way all along.
I could go on about the endless variations, but let’s jump to why I’m here—to talk about turkey gumbo, a time-honored day-after-Thanksgiving dish in East Texas and Louisiana, of course.
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