Christmas Leftovers Gumbo

Smokey Meats, Seafood, and the Holy Trinity
(Christmas Leftovers Become Frugal, Spicy Cajun Gumbo)

Smokey Sausage and Seafood Gumbo with Rice

Smokey Sausage and Seafood Gumbo with Rice

Gumbo. Our Christmas leftovers screamed, "Gumbo!" Ham. Smokey sausage. Shrimp. Krab. Bell peppers and celery. With a package of okra in the freezer, I knew it was time to make a batch of spicy Cajun gumbo.

Christmas leftovers with a few additions yielded a pot full of rich, spicy, gumbo. I like to use a mix of meats when making gumbo. This was a great way to use up the odd shaped pieces of ham that didn’t slice into pretty slices. A new twist was that the sausage was some overly smokey summer sausage. I normally use a link sausage. But, we had this summer sausage on the hors d'oeuvre tray, and the smoke flavor was too much for our taste. But, added to the gumbo, it would be perfect! I’d used partial packages of the shrimp and krab (fake crab), and stuck the remainder back in the freezer. Once opened, I don’t like to leave seafood in the freezer for long. So, again, it was just right to add to the gumbo.

Onions, garlic, and canned tomatoes are staples in our pantry. These, along with leftover bell peppers and celery rounded out the vegetables in the gumbo. Green bell peppers are the usual choice, but these were yellow bells. You won’t be surprised to learn the reason we had yellow bells is because they were on sale for less than the green bells.

I season my sausage and seafood gumbo generously. Thyme. Herbs de Province. Gumbo fillet powder. Chicken soup base powder. Pepper—a combination of black, red, and green. A smidgen of sugar. A splash of Kitchen Bouquet. If I have Worcestershire sauce, I add it, but I didn’t happen to have any today. So, I added a few spoonsful of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce that I’d gotten a super deal on using a coupon.

We like our gumbo thick. I use three thickeners: okra, gumbo fillet powder, and flour. I could see this was getting too thick, however, so I thinned it down with some tomato juice. Coincidentally, the tomato juice was also a Christmas brunch leftover.

Keeping with tradition, we had the gumbo with white rice. We also had apples and oranges with it – yep, from the Christmas fruit basket.

Using Christmas leftovers turns what could be an expensive meal into several frugal meals.

Yours in thriftiness,


If we’d have had turkey, chicken, duck, goose, pork loin, venison, moose, or most any meat for Christmas, it could have made it into the gumbo.

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