My family, particularly on my mother's side, has a tradition of serving gumbo on Christmas Eve. Turkey or chicken andouille gumbo, to be exact.
Gumbo is the perfect Christmas Eve meal. It's normally made in large quantity, it gets better with age (frozen), it can simmer on the stove all day long and feed folks as they arrive, and it's hearty and oh-so-gaddam-good.
Here's how I make mine. With divine intervention from my grandparents through training from my Mom, Eileen.
1 cup veggie oil
1 cup white flour
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
4 stalks celery chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped and seperated (whites and greens)
2 cloves garlic
2 lbs cooked chicken or turkey cut up
About 30 ozs chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 TBS each white and black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 lb andouille or good smoked sausage
Heat 1 cup of veggie oil in a good pot - cast iron or heavy aluminium. When it first begins to shimmer (before it smokes), add 1 cup of flour and stir well.
Over medium high heat, continue stirring constantly until the mixture is slightly darker than peanut butter. Add yellow onion, green onion whites, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Cook until celery is mostly rendered - about 30 minutes. Mixture (called a roux) should have a shiny appearance again as the oil begins to rise out.
Add chicken/turkey, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, white and black pepper, cayenne, and salt. Bring to boil and cook on medium low heat for an hour. Add as much water as you like, but a little at a time until the power (richness) is just about right. I do the same with the cayenne - add it slowly. A little goes a long way.
Add andouille or sausage, and cook until the andouille/sausage is done.
Skim off as much oil as possible.
Add tops of green onions. Season to taste with Tobasco and Tonys.
Serve over white rice with file'.
Say the names Pearl and Beck when you have the first spoonful.
Merry Christmas, Y'all!